Can Alcohol Cause Cramps?

Can Alcohol Cause Cramps
5. You’re more likely to cramp up during your workout – If you’ve ever had your match day chances scuppered by a cramped-up calf, or had to stop mid-deadlift due to glute pain, you’ll know how annoying muscle cramps can be. Drinking alcohol in the 24 hour period before training can contribute to a build-up of lactic acid, putting you at increased risk of cramping and muscle fatigue.

Why do I get cramps after drinking?

Alcohol Use Contributes to Muscle Cramps – The main job of your liver is to get rid of harmful substances in your body. Your liver considers alcohol to be a harmful substance and will, therefore, make it a priority to get rid of the alcohol in your bloodstream.

  1. This fact means that other substances that the liver tries to get rid of may have to wait longer to leave your body than if you had not been drinking.
  2. When you exercise, your body produces a chemical called lactic acid which can cause cramps.
  3. Usually, your liver tries to get rid of the lactic acid.
  4. However, when you have been drinking, the lactic acid may take longer to leave your body because your liver is trying to get rid of the alcohol instead.

The lactic acid can then linger longer than usual and cause extra muscle pain and cramps.

Can you get cramps after drinking alcohol?

Consumption and Cramps – Among the 140 participants: 24 never consumed alcoholic beverages and 116 consumed alcoholic beverage on a regular basis. Weekly, cases consumed a median of 94 g of alcohol (interquartile range 211), while controls consumed 66 g (interquartile range 198) ( Figure 2 ). Comparison of the mass of alcohol consumed per week by cases and controls. We found an association between the global consumption of alcoholic beverages and NLC. Patients drinking alcohol at least once a week had an odds ratio of 6.5 of having cramps (95% credibility interval, 1.68-38.05; posterior probability 99.82%).

Can alcohol cause leg cramps at night?

Skip to content Sharp and painful leg cramps can cause unpleasant sleep disruptions. About 60% of people report experiencing nocturnal leg cramps. Nocturnal leg cramps — also commonly called charley horses — are painful, involuntary contractions of leg muscles during the night.

Although nocturnal leg cramps generally pass after minutes, they are unpleasant and can disrupt sleep enough to create problems. Usually, the calves and feet are most affected. Nocturnal leg cramps are more prevalent in women and older adults, but anyone can experience them. Nocturnal leg cramps are a distinct condition, but they are often misdiagnosed as restless legs syndrome (RLS) because both disorders involve uncomfortable sensations in the legs.

Although symptoms are similar, there are some key differences between these disorders. You may have nocturnal leg cramps if you are experiencing:

  • Calf or foot cramps during the night
  • Cramping that causes intense pain
  • Sharp pain lasting less than 10 minutes
  • Soreness lingering for hours or days
  • Sleep disruption as a result of cramping
  • Feeling distress around falling asleep

Even though restless legs syndrome also involves leg discomfort at night, its symptoms vary from those found in nocturnal leg cramps. RLS is characterized by the desire or urge to move your legs in the evening. Other symptoms can include:

  • Unpleasant or painful sensations in the legs
  • Discomfort that worsens in the evening or night
  • Relief found by walking or stretching
  • Sensations that worsen with lack of exercise or rest

Symptoms of nocturnal leg cramps and RLS often present in similar ways. Therefore, nocturnal leg cramps might be difficult for your doctor to diagnose. To help your doctor figure out what issue is causing your leg discomfort, track your symptoms and bring detailed notes with you to your appointment.

Nocturnal leg cramps can occur for as short as a few seconds, and they usually do not last longer than 10 minutes. You may feel soreness or reduced strength in your legs the day after your cramps. Stretching your calf or foot during the cramp may help relieve some of the intense pain. Leg cramps can be distressing and painful.

Experiencing pain during the night can disrupt sleep. The exact causes of nocturnal leg cramps are unknown. However, there are some factors that may increase the chance of experiencing leg cramps during the night. Medications: Some medications, like diuretics, steroids, and antidepressants, are associated with nocturnal leg cramping.

Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking if you experience leg cramps during the night. Pregnancy: Leg cramps are a common experience in pregnant women, although some professionals consider pregnancy-related leg cramps different from nocturnal leg cramps. Researchers are unsure if this leg cramping occurs due to pregnancy itself, or because of a lack of blood flow in the veins as a result of pregnancy.

Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce leg cramping in pregnancy, but you should talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplements. Dehydration: Not drinking enough water during the day can result in dehydration. Dehydration causes muscle weakness and cramping,

  • Nocturnal leg cramps in particular are not associated with dehydration, but drinking water is still important.
  • The exact amount of water you need to drink each day depends on your body weight, activity level, medications, and local climate.
  • Standing for Extended Periods: Being on your feet for long periods of time can increase the risk of experiencing nocturnal leg cramps, making leg cramps a problem for people who must stand while they work.
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Taking breaks from standing and setting aside time to elevate your feet may help. Exercise: Exercising at the gym or through team sports may lead to muscle cramps. When muscles are fatigued or overworked, they can be more susceptible to cramping. Exercise-associated muscle cramps may be mistaken for nocturnal leg cramps when they occur at night. Although the exact cause of nocturnal leg cramps is unknown, there are ways to reduce the likelihood that you will experience them. Typically, leg cramps do not indicate a serious health problem. However, if you are experiencing frequent leg cramping, you should reach out to your doctor.

  1. You may be able to reduce the likelihood of experiencing leg cramps through: Hydration: Staying consistently hydrated throughout the day may help reduce the frequency of muscle cramps, since dehydration can cause cramps.
  2. Though some research suggests that nocturnal leg cramps are not caused by dehydration, it may help to drink water during long periods of outdoor activity or strenuous activity.

There is also research to suggest that drinking pickle juice during a cramping episode helps inhibit the cramp quickly. Stretching: Doing some stretching or yoga before bed may help you reduce both the frequency and intensity of nocturnal leg cramps. Research suggests that engaging in a stretching routine before bed helps reduce cramps and leg pain after about six weeks.

  1. Baths: Some people claim that taking a bath helps relieve their nighttime cramps, though further research is needed.
  2. An epsom salt bath in particular could help reduce muscle pain,
  3. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate.
  4. An epsom salt bath could increase your magnesium levels, which may help relieve leg cramping.

Massage : Massaging your calves or feet before bed may help you reduce cramping during the night by relaxing the muscles in your legs. If you have limited mobility, consider asking a partner to help. Heel Walking: Some people find that walking on their heels helps reduce nocturnal leg cramping.

If you wake up in the middle of the night with a cramp in your calf, try getting up and walking on your heels. Although this type of walking helps release the tight calf muscle, research has found that it is not as effective as stretching during a leg cramp. If you are experiencing cramping in your feet and calves frequently during the night that does not go away with changes in lifestyle or diet, consult your doctor.

In many cases, the cause of nocturnal leg cramps is unknown. Some leg cramps could indicate a more serious underlying disease, however, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Nerve damage in legs
  • Circulation disorders

Discussing your symptoms and concerns with your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment. Thanks for the feedback – we’re glad you found our work instructive! If you’re ready for more, sign up to receive our email newsletter! Your privacy is important to us. Was this article helpful? Thanks for the feedback – we’re glad you found our work instructive! Submitting your Answer. Written By

How do you prevent leg cramps after drinking?

Ask the doctor – Can Alcohol Cause Cramps Image: Karl Rosencrants/ Thinkstock Q. It’s been suggested that drinking 2 to 3 ounces of tonic water before bedtime can prevent leg cramps at night. Is that true? A. Tonic water—and the quinine it contains—have been promoted for preventing leg cramps for decades despite the lack of evidence that they are effective.

Quinine is FDA-approved only for treating malaria and is sold with a warning against using it to treat leg cramps or muscle pain, because it increases the risk of bleeding and heart rhythm disturbances. Tonic water contains no more than 83 mg of quinine per liter—a much lower concentration than the 500 to 1,000 mg in the therapeutic dose of quinine tablets.

Drinking a few ounces of tonic water shouldn’t be harmful, but it isn’t likely to prevent your leg cramps. There are a few other things you can do, however. Because cramps are often caused by dehydration, make sure to get enough fluids. But avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which are dehydrating.

(Don’t mix gin with that tonic!) Stretching during the day or before bed may also help prevent them. Once a cramp starts, getting out of bed and standing on the affected leg may abort it. Using ice or heat and gently massaging the affected muscle may provide some relief. — by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Hye-Chun Hur, M.D., M.P.H.

Former Editors in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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What is the best drink to stop cramps?

Summary – Period cramps are a pain at best and debilitating at worst. Find out more about seven drinks you can make at home to lessen your cramps every month. Anyone with a uterus knows that menstruation is not for the weak. Your monthly cycle often comes with fatigue, mood swings, bloating, headaches, and, of course, the infamous uterine cramps.

  • Menstrual cramps are caused by natural hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which trigger contractions and inflammation inside the womb.
  • Needless to say, it’s an uncomfortable time of the month that calls for supportive actions, such as increased rest, heated bean bags, and soothing drinks.

When you’re feeling tender and need some comfort, reaching for a menstruation-friendly drink can help boost energy levels, decrease bloating, and, most importantly, ease menstrual cramping. Here are seven easy-to-make hot and cold drinks you can make at home to support your body during your period.


When it comes to naturally restorative drinks, water will always be at the top of the list. No matter what your body goes through, proper hydration means being more equipped to manage any type of physical discomfort—including menstrual cramps. Water helps prevent bloating, reduces fatigue, and supports the circulation system for a faster, less painful bleed.

Hot Chocolate

Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or higher has a surprisingly rich and diverse nutrient content. It contains significant volumes of magnesium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants that help regulate blood flow, hormonal fluctuations, and pain management. However, now is not the time to reach for a sugary, highly processed hot chocolate product from the store.

Ginger and Lemon Tea

If you’re feeling bloated, sore, and nauseous, a steaming cup of ginger and lemon tea can help. Ginger is renowned for its uplifting anti-inflammatory properties that relieve menstrual cramps and even soothe an upset stomach. Some studies even suggest ginger is as effective as ibuprofen for muscle pain.

  • Fresh lemon also comes with powerful health benefits.
  • Naturally alkaline, lemon is great for soothing the stomach upset that often arrives with your period, and it pairs well with ginger both taste-wise and nutritionally for uterine support.
  • Combine fresh, grated ginger and a generous squeeze of lemon with hot water for the best results.

Add a natural sweetener like honey if you prefer.

Turmeric Milk

Also known as golden milk, this anti-inflammatory elixir is comfort in a cup. Turmeric is packed with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that work wonders for menstrual cramps and a wide variety of other common ailments. Although better fresh, powdered turmeric is far easier to find at the grocer and will be plenty effective in a warm drink.

Carrot and Orange Juice

High fruit consumption has been linked to reduced period pain, Both oranges and carrots are rich in vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in how the body absorbs iron. This makes them ideal fruits to consume while on your period—a time when you tend to lose a lot of iron through cervical bleeding.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is often used as a natural sleep aid. But its benefits don’t stop there. The compounds found within this floral tea (glycine and hippurate) have been linked to the relief of muscle spasms. This helps the uterine muscles relax, resulting in less cramping and tension.

Green Smoothie

Green fruits and veggies are always good for you, but they’re even better during your period. Drinking a delicious, fresh green smoothie at the start of your day or even as a pick-me-up snack will deliver an enormous nutritional boost that helps combat period-related ailments.

  1. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale contain iron and magnesium, while kiwi and bananas are loaded with antioxidants, zinc, and fiber.
  2. Simply blend frozen or fresh bananas with some leafy greens, kiwi, ice, lemon juice, honey, and the milk of your choice for a glass of creamy green goodness.
  3. A smoothie containing green fruit and veg will not only help alleviate cramping but can also be used to reduce stress and restore mental and physical energy.

Drinks To Avoid While Menstruating When it comes to managing period-related discomfort through food and drink, knowing what not to consume is crucial. These three drinks are best avoided while menstruating, as studies show they may only intensify cramping, headaches, bloating, and hormonal flux.

  • High-sugar drinks (soda, energy drinks,)
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

While it can be difficult to deny yourself treats when your uterus feels like a pit of fire, exercising self-control in this area will ultimately contribute to an easier and less painful period. Drink Your Way To A Less Painful Period Periods are a less-than-fun part of life, but you can make them less painful by being selective about what you put in your body.

These drinks are delicious, easy to make, and designed with good uterine health in mind. If you’re taking a contraceptive pill or keeping a close watch on your cycle, you can even start drinking them in the lead-up to your period for extra relief. Staying hydrated, healthy, and well-rested will make every part of your period a little bit better.

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And if doing so tastes good too, what’s not to like?

Why do my legs hurt after a night of drinking?

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process, Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind. Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:

Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm? Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence? Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?

We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness. Alcohol can be toxic to nerve tissue. People who drink too much may start to feel pain and tingling in their limbs. This is known as alcoholic neuropathy. In people with alcoholic neuropathy, the peripheral nerves have been damaged by too much alcohol use.

The peripheral nerves transmit signals between the body, the spinal cord, and the brain. Thiamine, folate, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, and vitamin E are all needed for proper nerve function. Drinking too much can alter levels of these nutrients and affect the spread of alcoholic neuropathy. Fortunately, abstaining from alcohol can help restore your nutritional health.

This may improve your symptoms and help prevent further nerve damage. However, some alcohol-induced nerve damage is permanent.

When should I be worried about leg cramps?

You should seek immediate medical help if: The cramps last longer than 10 minutes and fail to improve, despite exercise.

What is your body lacking when you have leg cramps?

Causes – A muscle cramp can happen after working a muscle too hard or straining it, losing body fluids through sweat or simply holding a position for a long time. Often, however, the cause isn’t known. Most muscle cramps are harmless. But some might be related to a medical concern, such as:

Not enough blood flow. A narrowing of the arteries that bring blood to the legs can cause a cramping pain in the legs and feet during exercise. These cramps usually go away soon after exercise stops. Nerve compression. Pressure on the nerves in the spine also can cause cramping pain in the legs. The pain usually gets worse with walking. Walking bent slightly forward, such as when pushing a shopping cart, might ease cramping. Not enough minerals. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in the diet can cause leg cramps. Medicines often prescribed for high blood pressure can cause increased urination, which may drain the body of these minerals.

What deficiency causes muscle cramps?

Vitamin D and Calcium Deficiency are the prime reasons to cause muscle cramps and joint pains. It is important for each of us to know our vitamin levels in the body so that accordingly we can take supplements, and special nutrients to our diet and most importantly if required, seek medical help.

Can alcohol cause cramps in legs?

5. You’re more likely to cramp up during your workout – If you’ve ever had your match day chances scuppered by a cramped-up calf, or had to stop mid-deadlift due to glute pain, you’ll know how annoying muscle cramps can be. Drinking alcohol in the 24 hour period before training can contribute to a build-up of lactic acid, putting you at increased risk of cramping and muscle fatigue.

Are leg cramps at night serious?

– Though leg cramps at night can be intensely painful, they aren’t typically serious. Most people who experience them don’t need medical treatment. You can try the following at home to try to relieve a cramp:

Massage your leg. Rubbing the affected muscle may help it relax. Use one or both hands to gently knead and loosen the muscle. Stretch. If the cramp is in your calf, straighten your leg. Flex your foot so that it’s lifted to face you and your toes are pointing towards you. Walk on your heels. This will activate the muscles opposite your calf, allowing it to relax. Apply heat. Heat can soothe tight muscles. Apply a hot towel, hot water bottle, or heating pad to the affected area. Taking a warm bath or shower may also help. Drink pickle juice. Some evidence suggests that drinking a small amount of pickle juice may help relieve muscle cramps. Take an over-the-counter painkiller if your leg is sore after. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory ( NSAID ) drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can help relieve tenderness after a cramp. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can work as well.

If frequent cramps are disrupting your sleep, make an appointment with your doctor. They might prescribe a muscle relaxant to prevent cramps. If your cramps are related to another medical condition, they can help manage that too.