I thought I was a lightweight. Now, I think I'm a flyweight. *embarrassed*
October 26, 2007 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Whenever I consume something with alcohol content - be it liquor, beer, or even Nyquil - my stomach feels queasy. This only happens with products containing alcohol. Enlighten me and show me your google fu ways, Masters of the Green.

I've always thought that the reason why I don't like alcohol is because I never got into the drinking scene when I was younger. But last night, after I took Nyquil, my stomach felt queasy almost immediately. I then realized that EVERY TIME I've taken Nyquil... or had something with alcohol content... I feel that same queasy feeling. It's not enough to make me want to vomit right there, but it's enough to make me immediately stop drinking or eating and lay down for a bit. So far, this feeling covers any alcoholic beverage - whether I can taste the alcohol or not, Nyquil, and food items containing alcohol (On the Border's Kahlua ice cream cake? Tastes great - makes me sick. BOO!).

So. After a preliminary google search, I've determined that I'm a)sick, b) lazy and c) cramping. Thus, my search was not very thorough. Can you use your google fu skills tell me what's wrong with my gut - or maybe you know firsthand what's up with me. Am I just such a flyweight at drinking that ANY alcohol makes me sick? Is this how you're supposed to feel when you take something like Nyquil? Help!
posted by damnjezebel to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
Well, the kahlua in ice cream has had the alcohol cooked out of it because it's near impossible to freeze ice cream with any alcohol content. Also, nyquil is a vile substance and should cause a bit of queasiness for everyone.
posted by evilbeck at 11:19 AM on October 26, 2007

try googling alcohol intolerance. are you asian? there's some predisposition for that kind of thing in asian populations.
posted by sarelicar at 11:32 AM on October 26, 2007

There are certainly people who are allergic to alcohol, and there's a possibility that's your issue. Also, I know many people who avoid Nyquil, either because they are non-drinkers who don't want to consume the alcohol or because it doesn't agree with them in general.

Even the heartiest drinkers can feel ill from varying levels of alcohol. No coincidence that the word "toxic" is in "intoxicated," you know.
posted by aught at 11:34 AM on October 26, 2007

Nyquil doesn't have alcohol in it at all. It's an antihistamine that puts you to sleep... but it's pretty disgusting anyway. Maybe you are reacting to something else in it.
posted by hooper4 at 11:36 AM on October 26, 2007

Alcohol is in fact not cooked out when heated (source).
posted by kcm at 11:37 AM on October 26, 2007

hooper4: "Nyquil doesn't have alcohol in it at all."

Incorrect! The first inactive ingredient is alcohol.
posted by macadamiaranch at 11:39 AM on October 26, 2007

.... another reason not to use Wikipedia as a primary source... Sorry about that.
posted by hooper4 at 11:42 AM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're doing any drinking on an empty stomach, I'd suggest trying it after a meal. Personally, I can handle a decent amount of alcohol if I have some food in my belly to absorb it. But if I'm on an empty stomach, it doesn't take much to make me feel it, and sometimes bother my stomach.
posted by sprocket87 at 11:45 AM on October 26, 2007

hooper4: "Nyquil doesn't have alcohol in it at all. It's an antihistamine that puts you to sleep... but it's pretty disgusting anyway. Maybe you are reacting to something else in it."
hooper4: ".... another reason not to use Wikipedia as a primary source... Sorry about that."

The only thing that article says about lack of alcohol is under the Children's Nyquil section, stating that the alcohol has been removed only in this variety. It never claims it wasn't in normal Nyquil. It's still an accurate first source ;)
posted by sprocket87 at 11:48 AM on October 26, 2007

Response by poster: Ok, so quick responses:

evilbeck - that's what I originally thought, which makes me think maybe it's the THOUGHT of alcohol being in it? Maybe the Kahlua flavoring? Who knows. Then again, I've had dessert dishes where the alcohol is simply mixed in with whatever syrupy topping was going on the ice cream, and that makes me feel sick as well. So it could be an either/or thing. Who knows.

sarelicar - Nope, I'm whitebread. Total mutt. Although, funny enough, my boyfriend's asian and has no stomach troubles whatsoever.

sprocket87 - It happens on both an empty stomach or after I've eaten something.
posted by damnjezebel at 11:58 AM on October 26, 2007

Are you asian? Many persons of asian descent cannot process alcohol as well as persons coming from other areas. See this article on wikipedia for more details. It has something to do with "an atypical alcohol dehydrogenase" whatever that means. I just saw it on TV once.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2007

Even if you are not asian you might have something non-standard about the way that you process alcohol.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:07 PM on October 26, 2007

I wonder if there's any variation between types of alcohol (grain, fruit, cane/sugar/molasses, etc). I'd be curious to know if straight grain alcohol bothered you, or if it's just sugar/fruit alcohol. Got access to any good grain vodka, like Grey Goose [wheat]?

I've always heard that alcohols with high sugar contents are responsible for more hangovers and sick stomachs. Perhaps you have a special intolerance to highly sugary alcoholic drinks. Even Nyquil is hopped up on corn syrup, I would imagine.
posted by sprocket87 at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2007

I don't know, but maybe the ice cream problem is lactose intolerance?

There's a chance it's psychological: Memories of throwing up associated with the taste of alcohol, aka "once it comes up, it never stays down" syndrome. Ever do much binge drinking?
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:55 PM on October 26, 2007

Also: Diabetes?
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:56 PM on October 26, 2007

IANAD however something similar happened to my father. In his case, having happily been a steady drinker his whole life, he suddenly began getting sick from even a single beer with lunch. He couldn't tolerate any alcohol. It was a very sudden shift.

It turned out that he was diabetic. As his body processed the alcohol into sugars, the resultant spike in blood sugar made him ill.

Of course, if you have never been able to drink, your situation may be totally different, but I figured I'd mention. Good luck.
posted by egret at 12:59 PM on October 26, 2007

Response by poster: Reggie - Nope, I've never had more than two drinks in one night, and I drink maybe once every year or so. It's never been something that I said, "i'm bored. let's go drank!" I've always defaulted with sodas and sweet tea. I AM lactose intolerant, but ice cream - unless I eat a crapload - has never bothered me. I don't have diabetes, but members of my family do. I've tried talking to doctors about this issue and they just assume "well, you've never gotten used to drinking, so that's why". I'm not very satisfied with that answer.

Sprocket87 - Come to think of it, I've never felt horrible on alcohol that was just straight up and not flavored, like vodka. And I don't have a real problem with tequila, as far as stomach issues go. I do abhor the taste, but I don't feel queasy when I've had a shot of it. I don't normally have issues with corn syrup - would the alcohol be the "deciding" factor in whether or not the corn syrup makes me sick? I've never thought of that before.
posted by damnjezebel at 1:05 PM on October 26, 2007

Brief googling reveals that others have experienced strikingly similar stomach pains when ingesting sugary alcoholic beverages, or high quantities of sugar with their alcohol (sweets, etc).

Well, I'm out of my league now; someone smarter put these clues together! ;)
posted by sprocket87 at 1:15 PM on October 26, 2007

Well, those doctors have a point. I'd substitute "gotten used to drinking" with "built a tolerance to poison," but the sad truth is, if you rarely drink, you get drunk faster.

That said, getting drunk fast and getting sick immediately are two very different things.
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:16 PM on October 26, 2007

It doesn't sound like alcohol allergy, as the symptoms are a little different, but such a small quantity of alcohol seems unlikely to make you feel ill otherwise. Also, the problem with alcohol for diabetics isn't high blood sugar, but low blood sugar. I think you might be reacting to something else in the stuff. You could try the alcohol free child variety as an experiment.
posted by caddis at 1:35 PM on October 26, 2007

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