How is alcohol intolerance treated?

There is no way to treat or cure alcohol intolerance that is inherited. You can limit the negative effects of alcohol intolerance by avoiding:

  • Drinking or restrict alcohol use. In social situations, consider substituting non-alcoholic beverages for beer, liquor, or wine.
  • Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoking is associated with an increase in levels of acetaldehyde, a potential carcinogen.
  • Alcohol use when taking certain medications.
  • Taking antacids or antihistamines to alleviate the symptoms of alcohol intolerance. Drugs will only mask the symptoms and may lead to increased consumption of alcoholic beverages. Misuse of antacids may also increase the risk of stomach ulcers.

Talk to your doctor if you take medications that may increase alcohol sensitivity. If you might have a drinking problem, seek professional help.

What are the risks of alcohol intolerance and habitual drinking?

Habitual drinking and alcohol intolerance may increase the risks of developing certain cancers, particularly cancer of the mouth and throat. It may increase the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer. It has been linked to higher rates of liver disease (cirrhosis) and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. If you are concerned about risks, discuss them with your doctor.

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