Allergic to Alcohol?

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College daughter allergic to alcohol?

Jan 2016

Not a huge deal, I know, but my college-aged daughter thinks she is allergic to alcohol. Weird, I know. She does not want to get stinking drunk, but would like to drink socially with her peers. She cannot. A few sips of wine makes her feel nauseous. She has not tried hard alcohol, but insists that even the smallest amount of wine makes her sick.

Can people be allergic to wine? Or to the tannin in wine? If there is such a thing, what do people do if they desire to drink socially? I have never heard of such a thing. Just water, thank you

Absolutely you can be allergic to wine; I have two adult friends who developed that condition. I suggest she try either beer, or vodka or gin in juice or 7 Up, as her social drink. Watch out for skin flushing or rashes as well as nausea. Best of luck with that.

I know quite a few people who are allergic to alcohol generally, and to red wine specifically. Those who are allergic figure out what they react to and just avoid it. Most of the people who are allergic to red wine find that they can safely drink white wine, or white wine diluted with water. If that doesn't work, they find they just have to stick with other drinks. anon

Please take what your daughter is telling you about alcohol seriously. I am one of those unfortunate people who is extremely alergic to any form of alcohol, even in trace quantities. And I only found out about it the hard way. I had never tasted alcohol all my life. So when I went for my first hospital procedure as a young adult, they gave me Vicodin, a common painkiller. My reaction was immediate; I felt extremely dizzy, and nauseous. I was on the verge of passing out. Luckily the medical team stopped the IV immediately, and put an allergy notification on my medical chart. Since then, I have been asked to avoid all products with alcohol in them, including some cough syrups.

So I would recommend that you take your daughter's input seriously, and mention it to her doctor also. Its not just a social issue!! Momoftwo

I have heard that an ''allergy'' to alcohol is very common among Asian people, not sure which specific Asian group(s), but apparently quite common.

My personal experience is from the other side, where the disease of alcoholism soaks the family tree; that having been said, I've lived an alcohol free life for many years. Not a problem, as far as I can see for your daughter. There are lots and lots of non-alcoholic drinks outside there besides water. She will rarely be the only one at a gathering who isn't imbibing. She can be the designated driver, and her status within whatever group(s) she's in will thereby rise. She won't grow up connecting alcohol with every type of ''having fun'' in her life. She's going to lead a healthier, and a safer, life. G*d bless her. Non alcohol drinker

I doubt it's alcohol poisoning - I have a similar issue with red wine only - even ''tasting'' makes me nauseous after a few sips. I think it is because the tannins are stronger. I can drink white wine with no problem though. I can drink other alcohol without feeling nauseous as well but don't particularly like it. Bubbly is the best! She is probably going to have to steer clear of wine (has she tried whites or champagne?) and just find something else she likes. No red wine

This sounds like my lifelong reaction to alcohol. It's not fixable, and it is nothing to worry about. It's completely unnecessary to drink at social occasions. Teetotaller.

I don't know your daughter, but some people say they are ''allergic to alcohol'' when they don't want to drink alcohol and they don't want a conversation about it.

If you're certain this is not the case, the Mayo Clinic website suggests that sometimes alcohol intolerance can point to an underlying health condition so it should be checked out. - John Barlycorn

There are lots of good suggestions on this page:

One thing on the list is medication plus alcohol being a problem. I am a pretty rare drinker and have never had more than 1-2 drinks in a sitting (had never been drunk). During a period when I was taking Prilosec, I went out for dinner, took my Prilosec, and then had two mini-glass servings of margaritas from a shared pitcher with a full meal over about 1.5 hours. I got very drunk, and very, very nauseated. Prilosec slows the action of your stomach, so I guess the alcohol just sat and sat in my stomach, causing irritation and reflux, which I experienced as nausea that night and for days afterwards. So...look at the medications your daughter is taking.

Also, reflux itself can be triggered/worsened by alcohol. Perhaps she takes a drink, it triggers reflux, and she feels nauseated.

Yes! You can definitely be allergic to alcolhol, especially red wine. Me and two of my siblings are all allergic to all types of alcohol. I get lots of different reactions ranging from sneezing and congestion to nausea and ''spinning''/vertigo. I've been told that I probably lack an enzyme that breaks down alcohol and instead I just get immediate alcohol poisoning. As for solutions, I just don't drink alcohol, which is probably not what you want to hear, but it's the only thing that keeps me from feeling really crappy. --Eternal DD

Yes, one can be allergic to ingredients in alcohol, or have an intolerance to alcohol. Here's a link to a Mayo Clinic web page on it:

My husband's cousin, who has numerous allergies including cats and nuts, also has pretty severe alcohol intolerance. While this sounds great, the side affect is when he wanted to ''party'' in his younger days without drinking he would do drugs like ecstasy. anon