Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

clogged sinus area after heavy drinking

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 36 Replies
  • Posted By: markph
  • October 8, 2008
  • 10:38 AM

Hi, does anyone know what i can take to treat a really congested sinus after heavy drinking of alcohol?
I am 50 yrs old and this problem has been getting worse over the last 5 odd years to the point where it prevents me from sleeping as i cannot stop sniffing and snorting.
If i have had a fair bit to drink over the weekend it goes something like this:
Monday, start to sniff and feel congested a bit.
Tues" gets worse as the day goes on, difficult to sleep,
Wed: it is almost unbearable, constant sniffing and congested (no phlegm at all though)
Thurs: starts to feel a bit better.
Fri: better again, Drink again on the weekend and it all starts again. If I dont drink much over he weekend it is not as bad, but is always still present.
I feel really down as well when this happens, could this be a stress or anxiety related issue that gets worse with alcohol use ? My family, work and social life are all great so i dont have any real reason to stress, although my job can put me under some pressure. (is my feeling of depression caused by my problem described here, or is my problem caused by alcohol induced depression?)
I am not drinking any more than i was 10 years ago so i cannot understand why it happens all the time now.
I am not even sure that it is a sinus problem, could it be a muscular disorder?

My GP does not have any answers to this.

Thanks

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36 Replies:

  • I'm kinda late to this thread, and just stumbled upon it, but I had all the same problems everyone is describing. I was severely congested after drinking, and often stuffy, and I tried everything in the book, cutting different foods, alcohol, etc, it would get mildly better but never go away for YEARS. I finally went to an ENT surgeon who did a CAT scan and and found a deviated septum, we decided to do surgery, the surgery isn't fun, but it's been 6 months since the surgery and my congestion is completely gone. My ENT thinks most chronic sinus infections are architectural/structural in nature. In other words the mucus can't drain properly so it exacerbates the problem until the sinus membranes are always inflamed. I still get a little congested when I drink (because of the histamine) but it drains properly and never is an issue. My two cents...
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 23, 2010
    • 00:02 AM
    • 0
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  • I know this post is old, but I have been having the SAME problem for 3 years now (I am 30). Before that I never had a problem. Every time I drink alcohol, no matter what kind, I get extremely congested and start sneezing. Because of this, I cannot sleep at night, because I can't breathe through my nose, and when I breathe through my mouth, my throat gets dry and so I keep having to drink water. I also lose me taste and smell until the next night, usually. My first doctor thought it was a sinus problem so I had surgery done, which did absolutely nothing so I got a second opinion. My second doctor tested me for allergies and apparantly, I have none. He told me there is no cure for this, except for getting periodic steroid injections into my nose (every few months), to shrink the nasal passage. I have done this numerous times, and it works for about 3 weeks, and then I have the same symptoms again. I don't want to keep getting these injections because I know they are not good for me, and it's not a permanent fix. Stopping drinking is no fun, as a previous writer posted....Can anyone help me?????
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well, I'm here to join the club.Over the past few years I've had sinus pressure after drinking beer. In my twenties I drank a lot, often. I experienced hang overs but I wasn't surprized because I knew that I'd had way more than I should. Now, in my late thirties, I'm at least a little wiser and don't drink like I did in my twenties. Life is busy and it's not untill Friday night that I can sit with friends and have some beers. I have more than a few but not nearly as much as when I was younger. I might have five or six in a four or five hour period of time. I deffinitely feel it.I like micro brew beers. Cheap, mass produced beers are not an option. I really like porters but they are filling so I wouldn't drink more and one or two of them. I'm a big fan of IPA's, which are smooth and not filling, which most adversly effect my sinuses. There have been times where I have a couple (two) IPA's with dinner and had mild sinus issues. Any time I have more than a few beers, porter, stout, IPA, hefeweizen, brown ale, what ever, I have sinus issues the next day, or two.So my sinus issues last Saturday, sometimes into Sunday. Sometimes it's not that bad, and I can get over it by Saturday afternoon. What I get is packed sinuses, no draining, with a strong sinus headache. It's very uncomfortable, and I'm inclined to hang out at home untill I feel somewhat better. It just seems like a wast of time, dealing with this sinus pressure/pain. I have things to do and I'm slowed by this issue.I'm not interested in quitting drinking. People who drink micro brews would understand. It's not all about getting drunk per se, but about trying different beers. I have been gradually cutting the volume that I consume and will continue to do so, as I'm getting older. I, like others here, would like to find out why this is happening and a way to minimize, or stop it. In any event, It's good to see that I'm not alone. Even though this is an old thread I hope that it can help others. Who knows, maybe someone who has found a solution will find this thread and we'll all have a possible cure. We can always hope.Thom
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks to the 2 people who replied.I know that I probably drink a bit too much on weekends for a guy thats 50, I work hard all week and dont drink at all, but come weekends we have a very social life and really enjoy a drink with friends, the frustrating thing for me is that it is becoming worse and I have never heard of anyone having such a bad reaction to it, hangovers are nothing compared to the discomfort of this.I know abstination improves my situation but it never goes away completely which makes me wonder if it is more than just drinking too much that agrevates it.cheers, MarkI too have this problem. At times I awake in the middle of the night with intense pain above the roof of my mouth and in my cervical spine (neck). I also experience the sensation of clenching my teeth though I'm not clenching my teeth. I take a hot shower. Allowing the hot water to beat down on my neck gives me some relief. Perhaps breathing in the warm, moist air is rehydrating the sinus cavities. This usually allows me to go back to bed. I don't want to give up drinking so there have been times where I will drink non-alcoholic beer. It satisfies my taste for a beer without catching a buzz.I've tried all kinds of over-the-counter meds and haven't found anything that has helped eliminate the symptoms. At this point my ENT wants to do an MRI but I don't have health insurance. I have an inversion table. I have tried a nasal douche while hanging upside down at my inversion table. It seems to help to a point but gives me the sensation of drowning and momentarily adds to the pain and pressure (almost like a burning sensation). I also have laid on my bed with my head hanging off the edge while administering a nasal spray that consists of 1 pint of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.~David
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 2, 2010
    • 11:23 AM
    • 0
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  • Hi, does anyone know what i can take to treat a really congested sinus after heavy drinking of alcohol?I am 50 yrs old and this problem has been getting worse over the last 5 odd years to the point where it prevents me from sleeping as i cannot stop sniffing and snorting. If i have had a fair bit to drink over the weekend it goes something like this: Monday, start to sniff and feel congested a bit. Tues" gets worse as the day goes on, difficult to sleep, Wed: it is almost unbearable, constant sniffing and congested (no phlegm at all though) Thurs: starts to feel a bit better. Fri: better again, Drink again on the weekend and it all starts again. If I dont drink much over he weekend it is not as bad, but is always still present. I feel really down as well when this happens, could this be a stress or anxiety related issue that gets worse with alcohol use ? My family, work and social life are all great so i dont have any real reason to stress, although my job can put me under some pressure. (is my feeling of depression caused by my problem described here, or is my problem caused by alcohol induced depression?)I am not drinking any more than i was 10 years ago so i cannot understand why it happens all the time now.I am not even sure that it is a sinus problem, could it be a muscular disorder? My GP does not have any answers to this. ThanksHi Mark, I read your post and triggered on the multi day pattern. I used to drink regularly but over the last several years when I just have one drink, I have problems. For example, prior to last wednesday, I hadn't had a drink in 3.5 months. On Wed, I had a drink and the pattern played out - including nights where it is difficult to sleep. Wed: One drink - Felt great that nightthurs: Not too bad - didn't sleep well and felt a little strange and a little headache at the top of my headFri: worse - start to feel a headache starting from the inside outSat: even worse and almost unbearableSun (today): getting betterMon: If history serves, tomorrow will be much better and tuesday will be back to normal. This multi day pattern occurs without fail no matter what alcohol I drink (beer, vodka, gin, etc). As another data point, I tried a non-alcholic beer and I DO NOT get the headaches so I'm almost convinced it is triggering off alcohol but not sure if alcohol is the cause or just fueling the fire. I got a full MRI but they didn't find anything. I've thought about alcohol withdrawal but my doctor doesn't think this is likely because I go long periods without it (several months) and trigger off one drink. So far, you are the first person I have heard of beside myself that exhibits a multi day pattern following consumption of alcohol that starts off ok but then gets worse. I'm going to see a well respected osteopathic doctor in a few weeks about it. How are you doing, I see there hasn't been a post in about a year.
    Jesman 1 Replies
    • November 28, 2010
    • 11:55 PM
    • 0
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  • My advice would be to eliminate all grains especially wheat from your diet for one week and see if that helps. This means no bread, pasta, flower tortillas, or anything with the most minute amount of flower or wheat in it. Just grill meat and veggies. Grains are for the poor anyway. We used to eat them back in the day as a filler because we didn't have enough meat and vegatables. Does anybody know then, if it's a problem with grains why bread, rice, weetabix etc doesnt provide nearly the same adverse reaction???ive had this problem nigh on 3 years now, and have had to cut out socialising!!! If i have more than 2 beers i have a hangover, then the day after that feel like i have a cold whcih continually gets worse until i have pain all over my face, ears, and real bad headaches and cold symptoms that dont reduce whatsoever.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 2, 2011
    • 07:29 PM
    • 0
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  • Does anybody know then, if it's a problem with grains why bread, rice, weetabix etc doesnt provide nearly the same adverse reaction???ive had this problem nigh on 3 years now, and have had to cut out socialising!!! If i have more than 2 beers i have a hangover, then the day after that feel like i have a cold whcih continually gets worse until i have pain all over my face, ears, and real bad headaches and cold symptoms that dont reduce whatsoever.I used to be able to drink as much as I wanted in my early 20s and I had no problems. But when I hit my 30s I started to get sinus trouble, after a few pints I go mad sneezing. And now I am starting to suffer the same issues as you. When I drink , about two days later I get a bad cold, sore throat, the works. And then two days after that, the cold turns into a sinus infection and I feel awful. I gave up smoking for a year, didn't help. I gave up drinking for three months and it might have helped a little. What I do know is the drink weakens your immune system and allows these things to get a hold easier. I was a binge drinker, this could have caused the problem in the beginning. Perhaps.I have read that a good nights sleep, and going for a walk, lots of fresh air and drinking water can keep your sinuses healthy. And I do feel better when I do go out for a walk, but it doesn't cure the problem. It returns the next day. I thought maybe that putting on some weight has triggered it, as I am heavier in my 30s than in my 20s, but I have no evidence to say if that contributes to the problem or not. It could also be something that just runs in families. My aunt has suffered from bad sinus trouble for a long time.What I am going to try next is a Saline lavage . It's just water and salt made into a solution and you flush out your sinuses with it daily or every other day. People seem to swear by it. I will tell you how to do it at homeYou will need to buy a neti pot which is just a small plastic container, or use a plastic sports bottle, or bulb syringe to hold the solution. Take1/4 tsp table salt 8 ounces warm water (filtered is best) 1/8 tsp baking soda (optional, leave this out if you wish)Mix the recipe above in a clean glass container or glass works best. Fill your bulb syringe, neti pot or sports bottle with the solution.Put your head down over the sink and tilt your head to the left.Pour the solution into your right nostril. The solution should run from the right nostril, up into your sinus cavity and out through your left nostrilGently blow your nose with a tissue and repeat with the opposite nostril.This will flush out your sinuses and kill germs and whatever other nasty things are up there causing you problems, and they say it works great for allergies or chronic sinus conditions. Which is what I am suffering from as I type this. I am going to try it for a week and will report back my findings. I just need to find a suitable container to squirt the solution up my nose :) Do not worry about trying this, it has been used for sinus trouble for thousands of years and doctors often tell people to try this when suffering from sinus problems. It's just not very well known for some reason. To conclude, I do think there is a link between drink and sinus problems. I was a heavy drinker before my sinus trouble began. And I've had sinus trouble constantly for 3 years now. But I'm not sure if giving up drink is a cure. I don't feel any better if I don't drink for a few weeks. I am now giving up drinking totally, for other reasons. So will let you know in a few months and in 12 months if that has made a difference. Giving up smoking has not made a difference. I have been a non smoker for two years now and still have chronic sinus trouble.Good luck all.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 24, 2011
    • 02:51 PM
    • 0
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  • Since my last posting here, I had gone off all acohol for over 4 weeks and surprisingly my congested feeling did not go away, it was not as bad but only marginly better which makes me think that the real problem here is not alcohol. i am going to see my GP next week and ask for a referral to a neuroligist, i am starting to wonder if it is a stress related muscular disorder that is worsened by excessive drinking.I dont really feeled stressed, can your body feel stressed even though mentally you feel okay?i have googled a bit on muscular disorders and there seems to be a correlation between stress and muscular disorders of some types.i have the same issues for the last 2 years. i use a humidifier and vicks and it works. hope this helps.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 27, 2011
    • 06:11 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Does anybody know then, if it's a problem with grains why bread, rice, weetabix etc doesnt provide nearly the same adverse reaction???ive had this problem nigh on 3 years now, and have had to cut out socialising!!! If i have more than 2 beers i have a hangover, then the day after that feel like i have a cold whcih continually gets worse until i have pain all over my face, ears, and real bad headaches and cold symptoms that dont reduce whatsoever.I've had the same trouble for years, chronic sinus trouble. Thought I was allergic to a number of foods or beer. Always get colds, sore throats after drinking. And after a few pints I go mad sneezing. What I have stumbled upon may be a cure for some. I started taking vitamin c when I got a bad chest infection after a night of drinking. And one of the side effects of this vitamin was my sinuses seemed to clear up within a hour and in 24 hours my infection was gone, next morning I was a bit stuffy, took another vitamin c tablet, a lemon one you disolve in water, and my sinuses cleared up again. Done some research and found out it's a natural anti histamine, which will stop sinus trouble, and beer and smoking depletes your vitamin c levels and allows all kinds of nasty things like colds to get a grip. If you suffer from water retention, colds, flu, infection after drinking. Or have sinus trouble. Start taking 1000MG of vitamin c in the morning, and 1000MG in the evening. The ones that disolve in water. And see if it works. It did for me, and then research to see if you are histamine intolerent. This would explain why you are getting strange side effects from drink. Alcohol is one of the major triggers in people who are histamine intolerent. Being like this can cause skin rash, sinus trouble, panic attacks and other things. Use a anti histamine, or vitamin c which is a natural anti histamine.Clogged sinuses after drinking is a problem with histamin intolerance I think
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I agree. The problem doesn't seem to manifest itself unless I drink.I just took an allergy test and it looks like I might be allergic to brewers and bakers yeast.I'll be on a diet for 90 days as per doctors orders. After that, I can introduce things and see if it triggers a headache.However, before the diet (going on for about a week), I tried drinking 1 shot of tequila and the same pattern occured. Not sure if the yeast is removed during distilling.So far, I'm still not sure of the problem. But it is good to hear I'm not alone in the pattern that occurs after drinking.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I'm not sure if anyone has said this yet but for the people who have constant congestion and no history of allergies, I would recommend seeing an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor. This is very similar to my story and an ENT specialist was able to diagnose me with nasal polyps immediatly. I've since had surgery to remove them and now I feel MUCH better. BTW myself along with my girlfriend also become congested after drinking alcohol. I'm actually quite congested right now (had a few Yuenglings last night). I'm not sure how to remedy this though.Cheers!!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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  • I too have this problem. At times I awake in the middle of the night with intense pain above the roof of my mouth and in my cervical spine (neck). I also experience the sensation of clenching my teeth though I'm not clenching my teeth. I take a hot shower. Allowing the hot water to beat down on my neck gives me some relief. Perhaps breathing in the warm, moist air is rehydrating the sinus cavities. This usually allows me to go back to bed. I don't want to give up drinking so there have been times where I will drink non-alcoholic beer. It satisfies my taste for a beer without catching a buzz.I've tried all kinds of over-the-counter meds and haven't found anything that has helped eliminate the symptoms. At this point my ENT wants to do an MRI but I don't have health insurance. I have an inversion table. I have tried a nasal ****** while hanging upside down at my inversion table. It seems to help to a point but gives me the sensation of drowning and momentarily adds to the pain and pressure (almost like a burning sensation). I also have laid on my bed with my head hanging off the edge while administering a nasal spray that consists of 1 pint of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.~David Hi there David - would love to chat about your experience of the inversion table and hanging upside down. Did it help? I'm trying to find out as much as I can about inversion tables! Thank you
    Outliner1 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • SOLVED: For me that is http://static.steadyhealth.com/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif. 40 year old male who mostly drinks at the weekends, and about 4 years ago the symptoms started - the next morning after drinking i would wake up with a blocked nose, which would last until about 5pm. I would mostly drink bourbon with diet lemonade, sometimes I'd have a night on red wine. Here is what i did, stopped drinking wine, and cut out all carbonated drinks - I now shake the fizz out of my bottle of lemonade and mix this with my bourbon, also no carbonated drinks in the week (never drank them anyway). The first weekend I tried doing this I still had a blocked nose, the next weekend, I was fine - It seemed to take a week without touching a fizzy drink for it to work - 5 weeks on... I'm great http://static.steadyhealth.com/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gifHope this helps someone.Happy drinking!!!
    Bernie S 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have had sinus problems for 12 yrs. It started out of the blue. I had had one previous sinus infection and no allergies. I have since gone through 3 sinus surgeries and many meds. Also all types of drs and diets. I CANNOT drink. It's not really much of an option. It is the only thing that causes me an immediate reaction. Alcohol is not the cause though because I still suffer and I don't drink. Pretty much any type of alcohol causes me a good 2 hrs of sneezing (making me and everyone around me miserable). And then I will feel terrible the next day as if I am hung over. It definitely has effected my social life. I would love to enjoy a drink, a glass of wine etc. the only time I can usually indulge is if I am on prednisone. It's frustrating to not know the cause of all this and why it suddenly started at the age of 30. I have never been a heavy drink just casual/social here and there.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 28, 2013
    • 02:02 AM
    • 0
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  • To the OP: Alcohol affects the autonomic nervous system. The sinus cycle is regulated by the autonomic nervous system. In some circumstances, normal homeostatic ranges become skewed leading to parasympathetic dominance, which suppresses cortisol and overactives the immune system. When this happens, a common symptom is chronic sinus inflammation. It would be a good idea to see a neurologist to look into dysautonomia. Often, this is unrelated to allergy.
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • October 6, 2015
    • 11:03 PM
    • 0
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  • I too have began to suffer from severe sinus and colds after alcohol, one beer can be enough to set it off, I've tried drinking ciders and low in gluten and gluten free beers, it's getting more frequent and more severe , it also stops me sleeping , giving me anxiety, I'm going to give up drinking for a month as I am currently suffering a severe bout after drinking 5 pints of cider and 3 brandys , any advice ?
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • January 19, 2016
    • 04:50 AM
    • 0
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