Enjoying a glass of wine or a cold beer is one of life’s pleasures. But for some people, alcohol can cause uncomfortable swelling in their hands. The swelling is usually temporary and goes away within a few hours. But it can be bothersome and even painful.
There are several reasons why alcohol might cause your hands to swell. One is that it can dehydrate your body, causing fluid to build up in your tissues. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, which can cause fluid to leak out of them. Alcohol also inhibits the body’s ability to produce protein, which helps to keep fluid in the blood vessels.
Here we will dive deeper into the potential causes of why your hands might swell after drinking alcohol, the drinks that are most likely to cause this problem, as well as some tips on how to manage this condition.
- What Causes Alcohol-Related Hand Swelling?
- What Drinks Are Most Likely To Cause Hand Swelling?
- How Can I Prevent Hand Swelling From Alcohol?
- Tips for Managing Alcohol-Related Hand Swelling
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Alcohol-Related Hand Swelling?
Alcohol can sometimes cause your hands to swell for different reasons. Sometimes it is due to dehydration, while other times, it might be because of an underlying medical condition.
There are three primary ways that alcohol consumption can lead to hand swelling:
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of hand swelling. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it helps to promote urination. This can lead to dehydration, which can cause fluid to build up in the tissues.
When you drink alcohol, it causes your body to excrete more water than it takes in. This can cause swelling because of the fluid build-up in the tissues.
Dilation of Blood Vessels
Another way that alcohol can cause hand swelling is by dilating (widening) blood vessels. This can cause fluid to leak out of the vessels and into the tissues.
Alcohol also inhibits the body’s ability to produce a protein called vasoconstrictor, which helps to keep blood vessels constricted.
This can lead to a condition called capillary leak syndrome, which is characterized by fluid leakage from the blood vessels. This can cause swelling of the hands.
Alcohol can also cause a deficiency of a protein called albumin. Albumin helps to keep fluid in the blood vessels.
When there is insufficient albumin, fluid can leak out of the vessels and into the tissues, causing swelling.
What Drinks Are Most Likely To Cause Hand Swelling?
Most alcoholic beverages can cause hand swelling. But some drinks are more likely to cause this problem than others.
Drinks High in Alcohol Content
Drinks high in alcohol and low in water, such as hard liquor, are more likely to cause hand swelling. This is because they cause more dehydration and dilate blood vessels than drinks with lower alcohol content.
- Spirits: vodka, gin, rum, whiskey
- Liqueurs: Bailey’s, Kahlua, Grand Marnier
- Wines: red wine, white wine, sparkling wine
Drinks That Are High in Histamine
Some alcoholic beverages contain high levels of histamine, which can cause hand swelling. Histamine is a substance released by the body in response to an allergic reaction. It causes blood vessels to dilate and can lead to fluid leakage.
Drinks that are high in histamine include red wine, spirits, liqueurs, and mixed drinks.
The sugary mixers often used in cocktails can also contribute to hand swelling. This is because they can cause dehydration and increase the risk of protein deficiency.
How Can I Prevent Hand Swelling From Alcohol?
There are several things you can do to prevent hand swelling from alcohol.
Drink in Moderation
It is essentially advisable to drink alcohol in moderation. This means limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day.
Choose Your Drinks Carefully
Be mindful of the alcoholic beverages you choose. Drinks that are high in alcohol content or have a lot of sugar are more likely to cause hand swelling. Stick to drinks that are lower in alcohol content and sugar.
Make sure to drink plenty of water when you are drinking alcohol. This will help to prevent dehydration, which can lead to hand swelling.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
Wearing loose-fitting clothing will help to reduce the pressure on your hands and prevent swelling.
Eat Salty Foods
Yes, you read that correctly. Eating salty foods can help to prevent hand swelling from alcohol. Salty foods help retain water in the body, reducing the risk of dehydration.
Tips for Managing Alcohol-Related Hand Swelling
If you do experience hand swelling after drinking alcohol, there are several things you can do to ease the discomfort.
Elevate Your Hands
One of the best things you can do is to elevate your hands above the level of your heart. This will help to reduce the swelling.
Applying ice to your hands can also help to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap ice in a towel and apply it to your hands for 15-20 minutes.
Take Over-the-Counter Medication
If you are in pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Wear Compression Gloves
Compression gloves can also help to reduce swelling. They work by applying pressure to the hands and fingers, which helps to reduce fluid build-up.
Hand swelling is a common problem that can be caused by drinking alcohol. The most common culprits are drinks that are high in alcohol content or have a lot of sugar.
To prevent hand swelling, it is important to drink in moderation and to choose your drinks carefully. If you experience hand swelling, it is best to drink moderately and avoid drinks high in alcohol or sugar.
You can also try elevating your hands, applying ice, or wearing compression gloves. If the swelling is severe, you should see a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
A few symptoms may indicate that you’re allergic to alcohol. These include itching, swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, flushed skin, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rapid heart rate.
There are a few drinks that are best for preventing hand swelling. These include water, juice, milk, decaffeinated coffee, or tea.