Why Do I Feel Hot After Drinking Alcohol?
It’s a common myth that alcohol raises your internal body temperature, but studies show it can actually lower it. Despite this, it’s not uncommon to feel warm after drinking. Alcohol consumption affects your ability to regulate your body temperature and also dilates blood vessels, which contributes to feelings of warmth.
However, if you’re also experiencing red, itching, or tingling skin, you could be dealing with alcohol flush.
Night sweats and hot flashes can also occur after drinking, and it’s important to stay alert for signs of alcohol poisoning.
If you or someone you love is drinking excessively, Zinnia Health can help. We offer treatment for alcohol abuse to help individuals overcome addiction and get on the path to living a long, fulfilling life. Ready to learn more? Call our alcohol addiction hotline at (855) 430-9439 and get answers to your questions.
Why Does Alcohol Make Me Feel Warm?
When you drink alcohol, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream through your stomach and small intestine. From there, it travels to your liver, where it is metabolized into acetaldehyde and then into acetate.
The conversion of alcohol into metabolites generates heat, which contributes to an overall sensation of warmth.
Drinking alcohol also causes blood vessels in your skin to dilate (widen). This results in increased blood flow to the skin, which can also give a sensation of warmth.
What is an Alcohol Flush?
Individuals who have difficulty metabolizing alcohol sometimes experience alcohol flush. The condition is also known as the “Asian flush” because it’s more common in people of Asian descent, but anyone can experience a flushing reaction after drinking if they have a certain gene mutation.
The genetic mutation associated with alcohol flushes affects how your body metabolizes alcohol, and the response is similar to an allergic reaction. Here’s how it works:
- In individuals with this gene mutation, the enzyme responsible for breaking down acetaldehyde — a toxic byproduct of alcohol — is less effective
- This leads to a buildup of acetaldehyde in the body
- The intense sensation of warmth that comes with an alcohol flush is caused by histamine, a chemical released by the immune system in response to the high levels of acetaldehyde
- These reactions cause flushed skin, which means a red, warm, and sometimes itchy or tingling sensation in your face, neck, and/or chest
Acetaldehyde is the root cause of an alcohol flush, and it’s also responsible for other negative side effects of alcohol consumption, like nausea, headache, and rapid heartbeat.
While an alcohol flush is not considered dangerous, the gene mutation that causes it can increase your risk of other health issues related to alcohol consumption, such as liver disease and certain forms of cancer.
Can Drinking Alcohol Increase Body Temperature?
Alcohol can affect the central nervous system and reduce your ability to regulate your body temperature. However, alcohol consumption does not actually cause increased body temperature, as many people think.
In reality, drinking alcohol can cause a decrease in your internal body temperature. If someone drinks to the point of alcohol poisoning, their body temperature could drop significantly, potentially leading to hypothermia.
Are you worried about alcohol addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Our team of addiction specialists can answer your questions on substance abuse and alcohol addiction. If you’re ready to take the next step, call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 for more information.
How to Cool Down After Drinking Alcohol
If you drink a lot or suffer from a condition like facial flushing, you might feel very warm after a night of drinking. In some cases, you may even experience excessive sweating or hot flashes.
If you feel like you’re overheating after drinking a lot, it’s important to sober up, cool off, and calm yourself down. Here are some of the best ways to do this:
- Alcohol can dehydrate the body, so it’s important to drink water to rehydrate and cool down.
- Wear loose, breathable clothing, as tight or restrictive clothing can make you feel hot and uncomfortable.
- Place a cool, damp towel on your neck or forehead.
- Find a cool, well-ventilated area or step outside to get some fresh air.
- Avoid caffeine and spicy foods, as they can increase body temperature and exacerbate feelings of heat and discomfort.
- Try to find a quiet, comfortable place to rest and allow your body to recover.
- If you feel tired or dizzy, lie down, but if you feel like you’re falling unconscious, seek help, as you may be suffering from alcohol poisoning.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
Feeling unwell after drinking is common, and hangover symptoms are often your body’s way of telling you to lay off the drinking and take it slow so you can recover from alcohol-related side effects.
However, it’s important to know the signs of alcohol poisoning, especially after an episode of binge drinking.
If you start to feel hot and uncomfortable, and you notice those symptoms are turning into any of the following, you should seek medical advice right away:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Cold, clammy, or pale skin
- Loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness
Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Night Sweats?
Night sweats are a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal. They often occur during the acute phase of withdrawal, which typically begins within hours to days after a person’s last drink.
- During alcohol withdrawal, the body adjusts to the absence of alcohol
- The brain attempts to restore normal levels of neurotransmitters altered by prolonged alcohol use
- Night sweats are thought to be related to changes in the body’s ability to regulate its body temperature during this process
Alcohol withdrawal can also cause other symptoms, such as tremors, anxiety, irritability, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs), which is a severe and potentially life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal that occurs in a small percentage of people during an alcohol detox.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can last up to two weeks.
It’s best to go through an alcohol detox with the help of skilled healthcare professionals who can help you manage the uncomfortable symptoms and potential dangers of alcohol withdrawal.
Get Help For Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love is dealing with drinking or substance use that has gotten out of hand, there are confidential treatment options available.
At Zinnia Health, we believe every individual deserves personalized, judgment-free support. That’s why we prioritize mental health through a variety of counseling and therapeutic services.
Our team can help you recover from alcohol use disorder and get through all the difficult and uncomfortable symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.