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Alcohol, Holidays & Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Do You Have an Intolerance?


Updated June 13, 2014

Alcohol, Holidays & Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There's not a problem with a champagne toast, or a little peppermint schnapps in your hot chocolate, is there? These kinds of things may sound great during the holidays, but for a lot of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, a little drink can have a big impact on symptoms.

Alcohol intolerance is something we need to watch out for. Like most symptoms, it doesn't hit all of us - some of us can handle a drink or two. However, some of us can't handle any alcohol, and it's rare to find someone with these conditions whose alcohol tolerance is still what it used to be.

This symptom hasn't gotten attention from researchers, so we can only speak in generalities, such as:

  • Alcohol a toxin, and our bodies don't deal with toxins well.
  • Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on your body, and inflammation can increase pain as well as reduce blood flow to tissues (which may result in lower energy as well as burning pain.)
  • Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, and ours are plenty disrupted already.
  • Alcohol is a depressant, so those who are clinically depressed should avoid it.
  • Alcohol can have a negative interaction with many of the meds that are commonly prescribed for us.

The first step is to know your limits and stick to them. If you do choose to drink, do what you can to mitigate the negative effects:

  • Think moderation!
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory.
  • Give yourself extra time to sleep and recover.
  • Be aware of how it may interact with your meds, and don't combine it with pain killers.

The bottom line is: be careful. Don't let a celebration leave you miserable for days!


Photo © Sean Locke/Getty Images

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