I think I'm allergic to alcohol

Patient

Q: I think I have been having an adverse reaction to alcohol. I very rarely drink, but the last two times I have I have gotten very sick the next day. The first time I had 4 glasses of wine, and later that night had vomiting, excess sweating and dizziness. The dizziness and nausea continued the whole next day. At the time I thought maybe I had food poisoning, but then it happened again this weekend. I had 3 glasses of baileys/milk. Was fine that night, but next day severe vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness. Does this sound like an allergy/intolerance to alcohol or something else?

Doctor

A:   Yes, it could be intolerance, but not allergy. Adverse reactions to alcoholic drinks are usually seen after over consumption, or when taken along with certain medicines that are known to adversely interact with alcohol. Gastric symptoms may also occur due to Gastritis (inflammation/erosion of the stomach walls) seen with chronic/ long term intake of alcohol. Besides, intolerance to certain categories of alcoholic drinks like Red wine, Vodka or Rum is seen in some individuals. Hence, once identified, it is best to avoid.

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