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Holidays and alcohol with Fibromyalgia and CFS

Friday 17 December 2010

Champagne toast

About.com's Adrienne Dellwo reports:

Holidays & Alcohol With Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Tuesday December 14, 2010

A champagne toast, a hot buttered rum ... these things sound great during the holidays, but for many of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, that festive drink can make symptoms a whole lot worse.

Sorry I have to be the Grinch here, but I'd rather be the party pooper than have you get caught by surprise. After all, most of us do a lot less socializing now that we're sick, so you might have developed a problem with alcohol and not even realized it.

That's not to say we all have to become teetotalers -- some of us can handle a drink or two. However, some of us can't handle any alcohol at all, and it's the rare one indeed whose alcohol tolerance is still what it used to be.

So far, this aspect of our conditions hasn't gotten a lot of attention from researchers, so we don't know why we tend to develop alcohol intolerance. What we do know about alcohol, in general, is:

  • It's a toxin, and we don't deal with toxins well.
  • It has an inflammatory effect on your body, and inflammation can increase pain as well as reduce blood flow to tissues (we may already have reduced blood flow.)
  • It disrupts sleep patterns.
  • It's a depressant.

These are all good reasons to stay within your limits. If you do choose to drink, do what you can to mitigate the negative effects:

  • Think moderation!
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory.
  • Give yourself extra time to sleep and recover.
  • Be aware of how it may interact with your meds, and don't combine it with pain killers.

I can still drink a little, but I have to be careful or I get a wicked hangover and feel really run down for a few days. Before fibromyalgia, I'd had one hangover in my life, and let's just say, I worked hard for that one! I make sure to stick to one type of alcohol, eat while I sip a drink, and call it quits after 2 or 3. The worse I feel when I start, the less I drink. Also, I try to spread it out. If I have a drink or two one night, I'll refrain for a few days to make sure my body is fully recovered.

How has your illness impacted your alcohol tolerance? Was this a lesson you learned the hard way? Is it tough for you to say no during holiday celebrations? Leave your comments below!

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The above, with comments, originally appeared here.

 


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