When we think of common migraine triggers, red wine often springs to mind. But this is believed to be due to the presence of tannins and other chemicals within certain red wines, rather than due to the alcohol content of such drinks.
So what about other types of alcoholic drinks? Is alcohol a migraine trigger?
A recent study has revealed that alcohol in itself may not be a common trigger for migraine headaches, despite a tendency for some sufferers to believe that drinking alcohol often precedes an attack.
The study, published in the journal Pain Medicine, was conducted at the Headache Centre in the Department of Neurology at San Giuseppe Hospital, Italy, and involved asking patients who presented with various types of migraine and non-migraine headaches about their alcohol habits.
Surprisingly, around half of the patients involved in the study reported that they abstained from drinking alcohol completely, while 17.6% were habitual consumers, and 32.5% were occasional consumers of alcohol.
When the findings of the survey were analysed, it was found that among migraine patients, occasional drinkers had a statistically significantly lower risk of presenting with chronic migraine than abstainers, and of those patients with migraine who reported that they consumed alcohol, only 8% reported that alcohol consumption can bring on their headache.
In contrast to some previously published studies, the findings presented here suggest that drinking alcohol is not a common trigger of migraine attacks.
Further, the authors report that the percentage of abstainers in their sample was higher compared with that reported for the general population.