Alcohol intolerance - delayed reaction and increasingly bad hangovers
September 28, 2013 3:10 PM Subscribe
My hangovers have been getting worse, even though I've been drinking less. It's also taking longer for my hangovers to start. Is this normal?
posted by karakumy to health & fitness (16 answers total)
I'm 26 years old, medium build (5'8", 160lbs, maybe ~20% body fat), reasonably fit and healthy. I've never been a heavy drinker - never once been blackout drunk in my life - but in previous years I could drink a fair amount, fall asleep tipsy, and wake up feeling basically fine. I am of Asian descent, but I do not get any red flushing whatsoever - I've confirmed this with multiple people over the years. Also, I rarely drink - we're talking maybe one night of drinks a month, and zero drinks at home or in restaurants.
But recently I noticed some things changing in the way I react to alcohol: I drink a moderate amount (say 3 pints of beer over 3 hours), go home, sleep, wake up after 8-9 hours with a mild headache. I take a dump, which smells much worse than usual, and is sometimes diarrhea-like in consistency. Then after 1-2 hours (so this is maybe 13-14 hours after I have finished drinking), I start feeling feverish. I get really hot and break into alternate sweating fits and chills. I start to salivate excessively and my saliva is bitter. At this point there's a fair chance I vomit and/or have diarrhea. The cycle repeats itself (fever, saliva, vomiting) for another 2-3 hours until I feel better. The fever is new and has only happened to me in the past year.
I think the bizarre thing, besides the severe hangover to a moderate amount of drinking, is the delayed reaction - for example if I finish drinking at 9PM, I only start feeling really sick at 11AM the next day. In prior years, if I'd really been drinking too much, I would wake up after 3-4 hours needing to puke. Basically I never have any immediate adverse reaction to alcohol the night of. It's just the morning after I probably have the worst hangover of anybody.
I also notice different alcoholic drinks affect me differently. Beer almost always makes me sick, but I can drink liquor without too much fuss the next day, and wine - especially really good ones - almost never causes me issues unless I really go overboard.
So, what do you think? I'm wondering if I have such severe reactions because I rarely drink, or if this is a genetic intolerance to alcohol that will get worse as I age. Is there something in particular about beer that causes bad hangovers? Thanks.