Sickle Cell Warriors

Articles

 Breaking News

Why Alcohol and Sickle Cell Don’t Mix

Have you ever wondered why you have pain or a crises after a night of drinking? Well let me break it down for you.

Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it triggers your body to start peeing–alot. Not only are you losing water and fluids out that way, alcohol suppresses the secretion of Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which means that your body is unable to regulate how much water you are losing through pee. Usually when you are getting dehydrated, ADH kicks in and stops your kidneys from making more urine, but with the suppression of ADH by alcohol, there is no checks and balances. So you start peeing out a storm.

In addition to this, the liver is the main organ that gets rid of alcohol by breaking it down. It metabolises about 90% of the alcohol in our body while only about 10% is excreted through either our urine or breath. The liver metabolises alcohol at the rate of one to two units per ounces, sometimes less than that in women. The liver needs water to get rid of toxins from the body but, as alcohol acts as a diuretic, there will not be sufficient amounts in the body, so the liver is forced to divert water from other organs including the brain, which causes the throbbing headaches. In addition, your blood is thickened by this sever dehydration, leading to clumping, which then leads to a crises.

The liver also produces more toxins in the body as a by-product during the breakdown of alcohol. When the liver is metabolising alcohol it produces acetaldehyde, a substance which has toxic effects on our liver, brain and stomach lining, resulting in severe headache, nausea, vomiting and heartburn (aka hangover).

So, before you take that shot of whiskey (which is 1.5 ounces), realize that you are dehydrating your body at an alarming rate, doing damage to your kidneys and liver, as well as setting yourself up for a crises.Personally, on the 21st birthday, I overindulged, learned my lesson, and pretty much realized at that point that a hangover with a crises is a recipe for disaster!

Remember, with sickle cell, water is your friend…alcohol, not so much.

Stay safe and healthy.

Related posts:

About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin's message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

Related Articles

18 Comments

  1. Melissa
    Melissa November 01, 20:39

    Yup learned this the hard way! I was experiencing pain while out and at some point if If I drank some alcohol it would dull the pain. SMH the next day I was in the hospital with my first major crises at 28 yo. Thanks for the breakdown. I also noticed that Red Bull or monster energy drinks set me up for a crises. Wonder if this is so for others with Sickle Cell SC?
    Thanks for the breakdown…

  2. Whodat
    Whodat November 03, 19:46

    Wow! Thanks so much for the insight. This also explains why it is not a good idea to drink while taking Coumadin. Alcohol thickens the blood which defeats the purpose of the blood thinner. I have had my fair share of pain episodes after drinking. Finally I decided to only drink once in awhile as a result.

  3. Moses
    Moses September 19, 09:28

    yup,I was stupid enough to drink last night and stand for long periods.needless to say I didnt slip that nyt.had a major crisis after two years.i wont be drinkin anytime soon.as they say,a lesson learnt the hard way is a lesson well kept.

  4. pascal
    pascal July 06, 12:54

    Hi,
    I agree by half with the article. I have symptoms more related to sickle cell trait rather than sickle cell disease itself. Blood analysis made at a young age and recently show low amount of red blood cell.
    I’d just say from my experience that blond or lager beer make me feel a lot better than liquor alcohol. Apart the unwanted direct effects of drinking a beer, I’m christian raised and also culture minded the side effects is feeling sleepy or in a daze… but such effects don’t last too long with a beer so it’s quite ok, the other way around to avoid these when I’m having a beer by myself is to eat something consistent, the effects are almost invisible.
    But why is it like this? Where I would have headaches in the morning and sometimes throughout a day without a beer the day before, drinking a (up to 75cl 4,5%) beer would help me get rid of most of these symptoms. Let say I feel more “oxigened” with one beer.
    On the other hand, liquors (any) are quite painful for 2 to 3 days.
    That was my comment on this.

  5. MsLaker
    MsLaker August 13, 00:49

    Wow!!! This is interesting I have never had side effects or pain criisis after drinking…I have had many crisis but none after drinking. As we all know SC effects us all different so I guess this one skip me

  6. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author August 25, 20:17

    MsLaker,

    you are so lucky that alcohol is not one of your triggers. At least it’s good to know that it doesn’t happen to everyone that way. Just keep taking care of you and thank you for the encouragement. SCW

  7. K. FLOYD
    K. FLOYD September 08, 17:58

    I went Birthday drinking nine days after my 27th on 9/8. I had a shot of Jack Daniels and Jack & coke and a bud. The pain I am in is regarded, like Gucci mane crazy. I don’t want to go to the hospital because I just left on 8/28 and I have a stupid anxiety to all needles that I’ve acquired over the years

  8. oladapo
    oladapo January 05, 19:31

    I found out that stuff like baileys or stout is okay.Spirits a no no on a night out had it mixed with juice in crisis d next day usually hard to find a vein but this time was worse the alcohol had dried me up had to wait a while b4 medication could be given.Thought it wise to keep my alcohol intake to myself.Never again lesson learnt

  9. NamZ
    NamZ August 22, 18:35

    Wow!!! I didnt know there were so many other people with this disease and that go through what i go through I just went out for a drink and I’m in major pain… I always get the pain after I drink but today its worse I had to Google why.thanks!

  10. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author September 21, 16:05

    @NamZ, you are welcome. Glad we could help ~Tosin

  11. Ve
    Ve December 26, 16:12

    Drink lots of water if you must drink alcohol. If you’re dehydrated or have sckle cell pains or any pains, do not, DO NOT, drink alcohol, do not drink coke. Make sure you get lots of rest. I’m a male, 53 yes with sickle cell SC.

  12. Tata
    Tata December 27, 08:53

    I gave up on hard drinks. I keep it to a minimum. Wine and beer with glasses of water throughout the night and especially before bed. Once I hit 25 I began having crisis regularly, per 45 days and with much more intensity when followed by drinking and partying. Tough pill to swallow when you live in the tri-state of NYC. Lesson learned.

  13. BeBe
    BeBe January 10, 01:34

    I just lost a friend yesterday. He couldn’t let the bottle be. But i thank God for the time I had with him. 23 was too soon.

  14. suggest1for_me
    suggest1for_me January 11, 10:35

    Wonderful article, I just came across this site for my first time n I’m 16 so this helps me to know how healthy I can live. Thanks so much.

  15. suggest1for_me
    suggest1for_me January 11, 10:36

    Wonderful article, I just came across this site for my first time and I’m 16 so this helps me to know how healthy I can live. Thanks so much.

  16. Droider
    Droider June 12, 05:19

    Alcohol may or may not be a trigger for me, the 1st time I had taken alcohol I was in serious crisis for about 2days straight. I regretted but being 21 now,it seems strange that I don’t drink alcohol on a night out or even a night in. I experimented and Frank a fair amount of mixed whiskey and after reaching my drunken state I drank water all through till morning, I did have a hangover, but not a single sign of a crisis, I still drink occasionally but very carefully and always with a separate amount of money specifically for water and I have avoided crisis even with drinking for 2 years now, I hope this helps. Water water water.

  17. King six
    King six December 17, 00:44

    Water and Powerade orange juice is good I learned in my 20s that booze wasn’t good for us and to be honest my dr said marijuana is good for us as long as we don’t smoke it but yeah I like the affects alcohol has on my man hood but I hate when the pain crisis kicks in so I just said the hell with drinking alcoholic beverages

  18. Shanz
    Shanz December 19, 13:02

    I am 17 and on a regular night out with my friends normally we should take a couple drinks and i would be fine,i have even gotten to the point where i was totally wasted and i woke up fine slight hangover but that was it. About a month ago i went to a party and had about 4 to 5 drinks, i was fine when i got home, but the next day i woke up with a terrible crisis and was hospitalized for 2 days!!!! This was really a shock to me because i have indulged in more, and was fine.

Write a Comment

Donate

Support awareness & education for SCD

Announcements

Sickle Cell PSA

From CT Sickle Cell Org---my favorite SCD PSA.

Join the Sickle Cell Warriors Database

Become a warrior. Sign up to be a team leader/member. Get contacted directly by SCW about events and research in your area. YOUR INFORMATION WILL NOT BE SHARED/SOLD TO ANY THIRD PARTIES. (See privacy policy)
Example SS, SC, Beta Thal, Monroe, etc.
You will receive pre-screened research opportunities on sickle cell disease
You will receive info about the sessions on the advocacy training classes
Read more here: http://sicklecellwarriors.com/classes/
* = required field
Interested in local meetups?




powered by MailChimp!

Join us on Facebook!

Archives

Tweets!

have data = false

This is a demo store for testing purposes — no orders shall be fulfilled.