Many of us heartily enjoy alcoholic drinks. In fact, alcohol is also present in many medications, especially the ones that are used to treat cough and cold. Human beings consume alcohol in different quantities and forms and for different purposes. But did you know people can also be allergic to alcohol? Believe it when we say that alcohol allergy, though very rare, is not a myth.
Many people are astounded to hear that sometimes people are allergic to alcohol of any kind. Alcohol allergy is also known as alcohol intolerance, which is a phenomenon that is quite parallel to lactose intolerance symptoms.
Cause of Alcohol Allergy
Any food or drink that enters the digestive track is broken down into simpler substances that can be used by the human body. In such cases, the digestive system and the digestive organs produce different types of digestive juices that play a highly instrumental role in breaking down the food nutrients. Digestive enzymes are some very important digestive juices that help in breakage of food nutrients. Alcohol is chemically simplified into acetic acid, which is commonly known as vinegar, by the ‘Aldehyde Dehydrogenase’ enzyme. Alcohol in itself is a toxic substance and is capable of poisoning the body, if it is not broken down by the body into simpler substances. Some people genetically have a very rare characteristic in their digestive system. Their digestive systems simply do not produce the Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme, which makes their body allergic to alcohol. In some cases the digestive system produces lesser quantities of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme. This might be treated as a curse or a blessing, but there are some alcohol intolerance symptoms which are observed.
Alcohol Allergy Symptoms
When alcohol intolerant people consume alcohol, one of the symptoms that they are bound to experience is an acute nausea. When we consume any food or drink the first action of the body is to secrete the appropriate digestive enzymes, upon the smell and sight of food. As the Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme is not secreted by the body, the alcohol is treated as an alien and unwanted substance and the body tries to eject the liquid, which is the cause behind the nausea.
Minutes after the consumption, hives and rashes are also bound to appear on the skin. Other symptoms observed are, headaches, skin itching, and painful rashes. As the Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme is not present in the body, the digestive system is also unable to digest or store away the alcohol. In such a scenario, the person who is allergic to alcohol, is bound to suffer from symptoms such as stomach pain, abdominal cramps, skin itching, heartburn, and a severe headache.
The next reaction of the body is to eject the alcohol from the digestive system. Hence the person allergic to alcohol suffers from acute diarrhea or vomits out the alcohol. Most of the time, this is enough to flush out the alcohol out of the body, but it is advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible. Sometimes, people experience only the initial allergy symptoms, but the body does not eject the alcohol. In such a situation it is appropriate to rush to the hospital.
There are several other reasons that why people might have alcohol and wine allergies. Sometimes the reason might be an allergy to preservatives or substances that are added during brewing.