Alcohol affects every system in your body, including the central nervous system. So, when you drink alcohol in any amount, you may experience side effects such as hangover hot flashes. While some side effects are common, you may want to talk to your doctor if they become severe or happen frequently.
Hot flushes after drinking alcohol can happen for a variety of reasons, including drinking too much or as a symptom of a hangover.
Hangover Hot Flashes
Waking up after a night of over-indulging in your favorite cocktails or pints of beer may result in hangover hot flashes, among other unpleasant side effects. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic lists sweating as one of the more common symptoms of a hangover. That said, how much you sweat, or the intensity of the episode often depends on the amount of alcohol you consumed.
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How you experience alcohol hot flashes may feel slightly different than someone else, but in general, a hot flash causes a warm and tingly sensation in your face and chest. This can lead to sweating and reddening of the skin. Some people will feel an overall hot flush that affects their entire body.
Although a fever after drinking is not that common, low body temperature or hypothermia after heavy drinking could point to alcohol poisoning, which requires immediate medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Read more: Why Do I Sweat When I Drink Alcohol?
Sweating After Drinking
If you're sweating after drinking, you may want to examine the amount of alcohol you're consuming. For adults that enjoy the occasional cocktail, pint of beer, or glass of wine, comparing your use to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 guidelines on moderation can help you monitor your intake of alcohol. According to their guidelines, drinking in moderation for women is up to one drink per day, and men, up to two drinks per day.
For some people, consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can cause unpleasant side effects such as sweating after drinking. If this is linked to an alcohol overdose, there are other signs to be aware of including mental confusion, vomiting, slow heart rate, slow breathing, seizures, difficulty remaining conscious and low body temperature, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious medical complication that can happen to anyone, but particularly to people who binge drink. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately.
Read more: The 10 Best Hangover Cures (and 2 to Avoid)
Other Reasons for Hot Flashes
You may experience a hot flash for reasons that have nothing to do with alcohol including medical causes.
Women approaching menopause often have hot flashes throughout the day, and some will even have hot flashes or night sweats while they sleep. Although an exact cause of why women have hot flashes is unknown, Harvard Health Publishing says some theories suggest that a drop in the body's level of estrogen could be to blame. This drop affects the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates temperature.
Some people receiving treatment for cancer have hot flashes and night sweats. While each patient is different, sweating can happen from a tumor, the treatment itself or drugs that might be prescribed for pain or other reasons, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Additionally, an April 2016 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Menopausal Medicine demonstrated that, though not to a great extent, obesity is linked to an increased risk of hot flashes in women.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Hot Flashes"
- National Cancer Institute: Hot Flashes and Night Sweats--Patient Version"
- Journal of Menopausal Medicine: "The Association Between Body Mass Index and Hot Flash in Midlife Women: A Meta-Analysis"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Hangover"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hangovers — Symptoms and Causes"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hot Flashes -- Symptoms and Causes"
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: “Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose”
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020: “Appendix 9: Alcohol”