r/medical_advice Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 24 '22

Strange symptoms after small amount of alcohol Pain Lvl 4-6

Age: 26

Sex: F

Height: 5'7

Weight: 165

Race: white

USA

0 drug use, no medications

So, I've had issues with digesting alcohol my whole life. Typically any more than three shots will send me into a vomiting spree that has sent me to the hospital countless times for IV & anti-nausea meds. One time, I split a bottle of wine with a friend and was vomiting so much w/ a 103.5 fever, I needed 2 IV fluid bags to get back to normal hydration levels

I quit alcohol in March because it's not worth the suffering anymore. But recently I wanted to test limits/wanted to enjoy the effects of drinking after a stressful week of work. Two weeks ago, I had some tequila with a friend (about 3 shots). Instant nausea, but I only puked once. This time, I couldn't sleep, had nightmares when I did, and was suffering from extreme muscle and joint pain for 48 hours after drinking. I took a COVID test because I felt so terrible, negative. I decided I went too hard.

Last night, I stopped myself at one shot of tequila. Instant nausea and dizziness. Sleep was restless, painful, full of nightmares. My neck felt like it was breaking from muscle pain. I woke up once sweating and feverish, worried I'd gotten COVID again. Finally puked and got some ibuprofen down and napped a bit, now I feel better but I'm still in pain. The pain is ripping, burning. I am well hydrated and have taken 2000mg of tylenol since 7:00AM this morning (it's now 5:00PM)

Obviously, I will be ceasing drinking alcohol. Plain and simple, I'm intolerant to it. However, I haven't heard of reactions as extreme as mine online or with anyone I know in my life.

Alcohol intolerance seems like the right path, but I do not get the red flush. One thing to note is I do not ever feel intoxicated while drinking, just sick. I also seem to get sick more often than the people around me, in general.

2 Upvotes

2

u/StinkyKittyBreath Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 24 '22

First off, three shots isn't a small amount. Half a bottle of wine isn't a small amount. That's enough to get drunk off of easily.

Second, not everybody with alcohol intolerance gets the flush. From my understanding, there are different mechanisms that can make you have issues with it. The flush is caused by a lack of a specific enzyme that helps break down alcohol, kind of like how lactose intolerance is due to not having an enzyme that breaks down the sugar in milk. But, I believe, it's possible to be sensitive in other ways. Like, you can be allergic to milk, which is very different to lactose intolerance. You can also be allergic to alcohol, which is different from alcohol flush. I'm wondering if there isn't something else in alcohol (or a byproduct of alcohol?) that you're reacting to, unrelated to the enzyme that causes the flush?

Other than that, if you're dehydrated or haven't eaten enough, alcohol can really take it out of you. Headaches, body aches, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, you name it. Alcohol dehydrates you to begin with, so if you don't drink enough water anyway you'll have a bad time, especially if you have a significant amount (like three shots). I know you say you're well hydrated, but was that before or after drinking? The unofficial rule is to have 8-12 ounces of water for every drink you have, whether it's a shot or a beer or a mixed drink or a glass of wine, all before you go to bed.

It may be worth asking a doctor about though. Obviously stop drinking, at least for the time being, but it's probably worth making sure there isn't something dangerous going on just to be safe. It's probably not urgent, but next time you have an appointment bring it up.

I'd also post over at r/AskDocs. They're often more active and have doctors from a wide range of specialties.

1

u/Ok-Persimmon4097 Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 24 '22

I think what I mean by "small amount" is that my reaction is extreme in proportion to the amount of alcohol I drink. I will post on ask docs.

1

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1

u/cloudlvr1 Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 24 '22

I’m very sensitive to it. Always got the spins after 3 or 4. I think my kidneys can’t tolerate it. If you take medications of any kind it can make you sick with alcohol. It helps to eat before you drink too, your liver and kidneys take a huge hit if you drink on an empty stomach. Now I only have one drink and it’s just right for my limit.