Saying Adios to Sangria: When Alcohol Triggers Pain

Saying Adios to Sangria: When Alcohol Triggers Pain

Maybe it’s the Portuguese in me, but I love sangria. While I don’t care too much for most alcoholic drinks, there’s something about sangria that sets it apart. It’s just so refreshing, and there are so many ways to put a different spin on it. But, as much as I would love to be able to have a small glass of sangria with dinner more often, it’s something that often ends up being a rare treat. Many people find that certain foods can trigger psoriatic arthritis flares; sangria ended up being one of mine.

A trigger for some, but not all

I’ve heard through word of mouth that alcohol makes some people with arthritis flare. However, I know a lot of people with arthritis and a lot of them aren’t affected by it. Lucky me, last year I found alcohol is one of my flare triggers. When I turned 21, I was excited to be able to go to the bar with friends and join in the fun. While from the beginning I decided to drink in moderation for personal reasons, a month into regularly having drinks with meals I noticed a new pattern of joint pain. The morning after having a drink or two, my joints would be especially stiff and achy.

Why me?

It’s so aggravating to know that psoriatic arthritis prevents me from enjoying yet another thing! There are so many things that set me apart from other kids my age, but why this? Of course, you don’t have to drink to have a good time, but that’s not the point. The point is that occasionally I would like to enjoy a sweet treat without paying for it later. While other kids my age worry about a bad hangover in the morning after a party, I get to decide whether a small glass of wine is worth a flare.

It’s not so bad

Even though it was upsetting to make the connection that alcohol makes me flare, my friends tried to remind me of all the positives. Naturally, I’d never have to worry about hangovers and I’d always be a safe driver. Not drinking would also help save a ton of money. Plus, there was no possibility of getting a beer belly or wine-stained teeth. And I’d be able to take NSAIDs like ibuprofen without worrying about liver damage. While it doesn’t seem like much, those points did help me feel better.

Learning to compromise

Of course, sometimes I just want to treat myself. There are lots of times you simply want a small drink, whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion or girls night out. Sometimes I’ll split a drink with a friend so I can still have some (really, two sips). And I’ve experimented with sangria recipes using a reduced alcohol content, which is a great treat. But more often than not, I do abstain. While it’s disappointing, I’d rather be with my friends or enjoying a good meal without thinking about the flare I might wake up with in the morning. At the end of the day, life is better focusing on the positives and small joys than dwelling on the negatives.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


View Comments (4)
  • Rackmani
    11 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. I also have psoriatic arthritis and found years ago wine was a trigger which is a crying shame. Spirits really aggravate my skin in recent years and I’ve now pretty much cut out alcohol altogether.
    Sad times. Really miss the beer but even that doesn’t help.

    At least I don’t miss the hangovers 🙂


  • ankeunterwegs
    12 months ago

    Hello Elizabeth,
    I totally agree with you that alcohol is doing more evil than good when triggering flares. I cut down myself on Alcohol quite a lot and even last Saturday when celebrating my mother’s 80th Birthday I had not even one alcoholic drink. And guess what, I was feeling good, especially the day after ;-). I know that alcohol triggers flaring for me as well, but also the side effects from the all the medication seems to be worse together with alcohol.

    And that leads me to the point when you are talking about NSAIDs. I don’t think that you should not worry anymore about liver damage just by leaving the alcohol away and still take NSAIDs, since they are evil on their own, at least for me. They disturbed my stomach (even with pantoprazole), put me on high blood pressure and I got early signs of disturbing my liver as well. So I took the decision not to take NSAIDs anymore, whatever will happen, also considering that even doses of 800mg Ibuprofen several times a day didn’t help much anymore.

    After years with good diet and leaving NSAID I managed to get my stomach healed as well as my liver condition and the blood pressure turn down as well again.

    When I’m in real pain I take Tramadol instead, a mild opioid and my GP is kind enough that she trusts me in taking them seriously. I’m lucky that I don’t need that much of them, so my liver stays in good condition.

    Best regards

  • Elizabeth Medeiros author
    11 months ago

    Hey there!

    I’m happy to hear that avoiding alcohol helps you! It’s definitely not worth all the pain.

    I know exactly what you mean about NSAIDs. Their side effects can be a bit much; I had issues with my kidneys a few years ago. Thankfully I’ve healed my issues too by avoiding them unless my doctor thinks its a good idea. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found ways to manage the pain. 🙂

    Warm Wishes,

  • Eileen B moderator
    12 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Anke. It’s amazing how long the journey is to find treatments that work best for each person, isn’t it? I’m so glad you’re managing your pain well. -Eileen, Team

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