Sinus congestion from alcohol is triggered by alcohol intolerance and elevated levels of histamine upon consumption of alcoholic beverages. One of the initial indications of alcohol intolerance and histamine sensitivity is sinus congestion and flushed skin. Take note that the condition is usually referred to as alcohol allergy but diagnosed as intolerance. If you want to learn more about intolerance to certain foods, click here.
Always bear in mind that intolerance is a genetic condition in which the body could not break down alcohol, thus leading to certain complications. It is important to note that wine and beer are high in histamine, thus leading to nasal congestion.
The main cause of alcohol intolerance is a genetic trait in which the body could not break down alcohol. The digestive systems of individuals who have alcohol intolerance lack the appropriate enzymes to digest the alcohol. In addition, the ingredients present in alcoholic drinks can also trigger reactions that results to congestion. These include certain preservatives such as sulfur dioxide as well as grains utilize in producing alcoholic drinks particularly wheat.
Some alcoholic beverages particularly wine contain histamine. Take note that histamine naturally occurs in the body that helps the immune system fight off harmful substances. Excess amount of histamine in the soft tissues such as the sinuses can lead to irritation and inflammation.
Nasal congestion is triggered by the inflammation in the sinus cavity. The histamine present in alcohol or histamine produced from an allergic response due to intolerance leads to nasal congestion. Once the histamine is released, the sinuses end up irritated and inflamed which prevents the mucus within the sinuses from draining.
The other symptoms linked with nasal congestion include sneezing, difficulty breathing via the nose, runny nose, postnasal drip and sinus pressure. The nasal congestion caused by drinking alcoholic beverages should not last for more than three days. In case the nasal congestion persists, it can indicate another underlying condition.
Other accompanying symptoms
Aside from sinus congestion, alcohol intolerance can cause the skin to become itchy and inflamed. Digestive issues can include nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, vomiting and gas. In case the individual is asthmatic, he/she can develop a severe reaction if alcoholic beverages are consumed. Other symptoms include jitters and elevated heart rate.
Important considerations to bear in mind
It is best to consult a doctor if the individual continues to develop moderate to severe reactions when alcohol is consumed. In case the throat swells, difficulty breathing or breakout of hives, bring the individual to the emergency room to assess if an anaphylactic reaction is developing. Sinus congestion linked with severe pain and fever can be caused by a sinus infection.
Treatment for sinus congestion
Avoiding the intake of alcoholic beverages is the only way to prevent the usual symptoms of alcohol intolerance from developing including nasal congestion. Once sinus congestion has developed, the individual should be provided with hot liquids and use steam from a hot shower to help soothe and open the swollen sinus passages. The amount of water and juice taken must be increased in order to keep the mucus thin and promote drainage.