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Alcohol And Dysautonomia


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As I get to know some of the folks on this forum, most people completely stay away from alcohol. I also completely avoided cocktail hour since start of symptoms in Jan until recently. I dehydrate too quickly and just didn't want the added symptoms or provocation of any thing else. Interestingly I find that when I have internal tremors or feel "nervy", have head pressure and I have 1 drink sandwiched with water/electrolytes - the alcohol will quiet my symptoms. This isn't a routine or even a treatment option for me. I just recently decided to have a drink as things are not getting better or worse and I thought a cocktail might lift my spirits in terms of feeling like the old me. Any thoughts on the chemistry of this or why it would help. I would hate to think a nice steady buzz is what I need in life ** just kidding **

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It is a depressant (antianxiety), but is also a vasodilator...yes, it has a calming effect, but be careful, like you said it can dehydrate you, because it causes diuresis (lots of urinating). I will have a glass of wine on occasion, but that's usually it for me!

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I agree with both of the above. Alcohol is a depressant, so that probably explains the calming effect you experience. I had to stop drinking any alcohol at all because my body started rejecting it. If I have 1/2 a beer or 1/2 a glass of wine, I projectile vomit, become so weak I can't stand on my own (but not drunk, just weak), my joints feel like they are on fire, and I fade in and out of syncope. BUT, I'm in no way drunk....it's awful. It's like having the worst parts of the hangover without having any of the fun. So, if you can enjoy a drink without it making you sick, will you have one for me? :P (I like pina coladas!)

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alcohol was the trigger when i had my POTS crash. 3.5 beers, and i ended up in the ER. i have not tried to drink since. i'm jealous of whoever can drink! i say go for it (slowly) if you can tolerate it, but be careful!

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I'm 56 and haven't had an alcholic drink for decades (except for once I had a glass of red wine which was a mistake). It's the same thing every time. I get the 'hangover' before I'm anywhere near even tipsy. It's a shame because I'd so love to enjoy a good glass of red. Then again my skin would probably react anyway because of the high salicylate levels in wine.

blue

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Alcohol used to stop my fast hr in the beginning. Now, I just flush tremendously and get even worse. It probably is calming down your nerves-- so to speak :) I'm with katybug on the pina colada!

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Thanks all. I'm a big calorie watcher so in my former pre POTS/DYSAUT life I would only have drinks on the weekends. Since my POTS/Dysaut symptoms I have dropped 10lbs due to digestion issues and loss of appetite. Or maybe I dropped 10lbs cause I stopped drinking...haha. I do like getting rid of all those nervy symptoms so I need to chose what might be the best med for me to trial. I have not had enough testing to know what I have. I don't qualify truly as POTS because my heart rate doesn't jump the 30 beats. But at rest it's can be 100 and climbs from there. My internal shakiness, low BP, peeing allllllll day, ear pain, and neck spasm are other present symptoms but my standing BP doesn't drop - its just too low when I wake up and usually keeps me on a ride all day. In APRIL I gave up the idea of further medical testing but I'm only 6 months into this and maybe I gave up too soon. Gonna search for a specialist in Philly soon so if I try a medicine I know why I'm going to try it. I have no clue if I'm a vasodilator/constrictor, no idea about my NE levels.... and as I read some of the forum people's post knowing those things help you know if you should be taking Midrodine, or Fludro, or a beta or an SSRI. I'm afraid to try anything. For right now ~ I had a mojito last night and it wasn't so scary.

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I, too, would love :wub: to be able to have a drink once in awhile! Like Anoj, the last pre-pots thing I did was have two drinks - next thing I knew I woke up on the floor of a restaurant -oxygen, IV's, an ambulance ride and life has never been the same. I have never had an issue with alcohol before and I know the alcohol didn't cause my Pots, but it definitely contributed to me ending up on the ground so I do feel that aversion towards it.

Relax86 - I understand where you are coming from re: meds. I've had the same hesitations. I think alot of it is just trial and error, but I feel like my body is such a confused mess right now that I hate to add anything new to the mix (especially with all of the potential side effects). I'm just 7 months in too and haven't tried any...yet...

I think it would be great for you to see a specialist if you are able. Now that I've seen someone with some knowledge of Pots, I don't think I could ever be ok with those blank stares from my local docs again. It makes a big difference when someone understands the various mechanisms involved and how it affects your life.

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Well I guess I relate to most of this pretty well.

I don't drink any more, except for one glass of Ice Wine on my Birthday, and I did have a celebratory Mojito after getting my SFN skin biopsy.

It does seem to calm the nerves and relax everything..........but it's a horrible ending, the next 3 days are pure misery of dehydration, GI issues, and Mast Type feelings of itching from the inside out.

So other than my favorite glass of Ice Wine on my Birthday it's just not worth it.

I've never been a healthy person, issues since birth.

I was never a drinker, even during those 18-21 years when most people get drunk at least once, I have NEVER been drunk!!!

Something about losing control I don't like the thought of, plus I had a friend get alcohol poisoning at 16 and almost die.

However I was a one cocktail on the weekend or during a special occasion person, usually a Blue Hawaiian or Mojito.

About a year before I became too sick to work I got out of a very bad relationship with an alcoholic.....lets just say really really bad experiences all around.

Because of that and watching him I immediately stopped drinking all together.

After that about a year later when I got so sick I couldn't work I hadn't had a drink in about a year, and didn't have another drink until my 30th Birthday last year. So 3 years total with not 1 drink, not even a sip.

So it probably means nothing just some big coincidence, and I was working a night shift and on call 24 hours during that year before I had to quit work but my symptoms actually got worse after I quit drinking all together.

Probably more from the hectic work schedule than the no drinking, but I don't remember ever feeling really dehydrated or worse after my one weekly cocktail.

Now my once yearly glass of Ice Wine practically kills me!!!

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Hunh - no changes with alcohol for me either, though I've always been a light drinker. I did avoid it for a while when I saw the info page ("Things that hurt"), but in general it doesn't seem to affect me much. Though I've always been super-careful about hydrating, even before the dysautonomia started (one full glass of water for every drink at least). I'll happily drink something next time (but not a pina colada) for everyone who can't drink and stated here that they want someone else to on their behalf. A toast to our survival!

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I'll happily drink something next time (but not a pina colada) for everyone who can't drink and stated here that they want someone else to on their behalf. A toast to our survival!

Perfect, thanks...I'll have whatever you're having :D It's funny - a few friends were over recently and they were hesitant about having a drink, since I can't. Of course, I insisted that they do. I will live vicariously for now!

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  • 2 months later...

Ditto.....drinking helps my bp go down when it is spiking but overall alchohol always calms me down, I am less symptomatic and feel like I can take on a little more or just relax if I am stressed.. I've never got the feeling since getting pots that it hurts me or causes adverse reactions. I drink vodka/gatorade. I always drink at least 2 glasses of water before bed for rehydration. Plus I drink a G2 in the a.m. and a glass of h20 per hour during the day until I get home from work. So I am sure I am well hydrated.

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I'm glad to hear others on this topic. I used to drink about a glass a wine per day before onset last year and then stopped cold turkey when I got POtS. It wasn't till the holidays last year that I had a glass of wine again and have slowly added both coffee and wine (in moderation) back. Like Angela I have at least two glasses of water/Gatorade for ever one coffee or wine glass.

The wine seems to help with toning down my sympathetic side.

I've wondered if I was alone in this.

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Cheers, I'll drink to that.

I have no trouble with a drink or two but seem to have problems with more dizziness and with worse hangover if I have a lot of alcohol, where as I would have been fine with an occasional heavy drinking night before POTS. Doesn't seem like a big loss overall.

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I'm in the "makes me sick as a dog" camp. While I never drank much, I use to enjoy a margarita once in awhile but now even a quarter of one will make me symptomatic way beyond what that tiny amount of alcohol should account for. Like others have said....all the misery of a hangover (plus some), ......... without any of the fun.

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They say a glass or red wine or alcohol is good for your cardio system. For POTS people its probably trial and error,

but since most of us are on major meds, its probably smart to avoid it seems to me for fear of drug reactions.

I think it can also really interfere with sleep, dehydrate you, and for some people with POTS its more or less

a poison that sends your CNS into hyperdrive, and you into bed or worse the ER with palpitations.

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If I have one glass of wine my resting hr will jump from the 50s to 115 plus, with standing in the 160s. I like alcohol, so sometimes it's worth it if I'm not too symptomatic in other ways. I never understand why a depressant will make my hr jump so high. When I was doing my long-term event monitor I had two glasses of wine, was symptomatic, and called it in. They called me back within hours and said "don't drink alcohol, period." I've never had it explained to me, but when I got the records all of the upside down Vs on the ECG strip were suddenly right-side up, dipping way below the center line of the strip like no other ECG I've ever seen.

Sad thing is, I still drink a glass once in awhile. I just feel so good, no matter what weird stuff my heart is doing. My doctor says I'm begging for a heart attack when I drink. Consider me informed. :)

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