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Jun 20, 2010 05:44 PM

Is this an Alcohol Allergy?

I have researched a lot but cannot seem to pin point my exact issue. As far as I know, even drinking just a small amount of; vodka, beer, wine and some others, causes me severe nasal congestion. It gets to a point where my nose is so stuffed up I cannot even blow it. When I first began to drink alcohol I never had this problem. Am I doomed to never get to enjoy alcoholic beverages ever again?
I am also currently receiving allergy shots bi-weekly for allergies to dust, ragweed, mixed weeds and grass. They all affect my sinuses, which is why I am getting shots. So have I now developed some sort of abnormal allergy to all alcohols?

If it's of any importance I am also on birth control and a 150 mg dose anxiety medication.

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  1. Second allergy question I've seen today. Since you already have an allergist, call her/him. Please don't mess around with this. Allergies can kill you. The dust, ragweed ones don't usually but food ones certainly can. CALL YOUR DOCTOR. Please.

    1. does your skin (specifically your face, ears or neck) also get flushed? if so, it's most likely alcohol intolerance caused by insufficient levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase, one of the enzymes the body uses to break down alcohol. it's relatively common, but unfortunately the only "treatment" is to abstain.

      6 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        A friend of mine, who also has other allergies, has that reaction but only to red wine.

        1. re: c oliver

          It is known as "Red wine headache." Unfortunately, I don't think we know exactly the cause of it. More importantly, two patient can suffer from red wine headache for different reasons.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            She also gets flushed on her face, down her neck and chest. Has the same reaction to tea.

            1. re: c oliver

              "Has the same reaction to tea."
              then it's most likely the tannins that get to her.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Definitly no flushed reactions to anywhere on my face and body. It is directly at the nasal passage, and I just have no clue as to why.

          1. re: kannerz

            Interesting. In human body, ethanol (grain alcohol) is metabolized to acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase. Then acetaldehyde is converted to acetic acid by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. The most common alcohol intolerance is due to acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency -- that is the lack of the second step. This can be viewed both as a blessing or as a curse depending your angle.

            Your reaction can be caused by many things, ranging from yeast allergy, intolerance to histamine or hypersensitivity to ethanol. I think you would know if you have yeast allergy, as you will have trouble eating bread. Ethanol hypersensitivity is very rare.

        3. You may have yeast growing in your stomach. My husband had a similar reaction for years before finding an allergist who figured it out. He had to give up alcohol. It can be aserious problem. Good luck figuring it out.

          1. There are two conditions called Histaminosis and Histamine Intolerance. They stem from a lack of enzymes in the stomach. A build up of Histamine and other amines (Tyramine in the case of those with red wine issues) can then make you very one of the most common symptoms is red wine headache, sniffles and allergy-like symptoms with negative allergy tests. You'd have to go to London, or pretty much anywhere else in Europe to get diagnosed. They can do histamine tests in the states but not the diamine oxidase or monoamine oxidase enzyme tests. This is all very much done by "real" doctor, not homeopaths/witchdoctors ;) Dirk Budka in London is the authority on the condition.

            1 Reply
            1. re: astarte

              Dirk Budka is not an authority on anything. He has no clinical qualifications to practice and is a charlatan. He has no medical or alternative health qualifications. He is not registered to do anything. It's all self-proclaimed on his own websites. Don't be fooled and waste your precious money.

            2. I have these problems, too. It started a few years ago, that I got sneeze attacks for sometimes 4 days. I felt like I had a bad cold and very often I had to stay in bed. Than I stopped drinking beer and since than it's over. Sometimes I have problems with white wine.
              I think it's better when you stop drinking alcohol at all :(