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Updated on July 6, 2023
5 min read

The Relationship Between Alcohol and Sweating

What Causes You to Sweat While Drinking Alcohol?

Alcohol consumption can lead to a variety of side effects. One of them is sweating.

This is typically because of how alcohol affects the nervous system, among other factors. Here are six reasons why you might sweat while (or after) drinking alcohol: 

1. Metabolism Boost

Your body has to process the alcohol you drink. Therefore, the more you drink, the more you have to metabolize.

When your body imetabolizes alcohol, you might sweat. A rise in metabolic rate is linked to increased body temperature.6

2. Blood Vessel Dilation

Alcohol can cause your blood vessels to dilate. This is because it can make you feel warm. Initially, alcohol widens your blood vessels, but when the alcohol levels in your body get higher, they start to tighten.10 This reaction can increase your blood pressure and heart rate.

When this happens, blood starts to move closer to your skin, increasing your body temperature. Your body will then start sweating to release heat through sweat glands.9,10

3. Hypothalamus Activation

The hypothalamus is a brain region that controls your nervous system and body temperature. Alcohol affects this part of your brain. It can cause changes in body temperature, which may result in a sweat response.8

4. Alcohol Withdrawal

If you're dependent on alcohol, you may go into withdrawal when you stop drinking. You can also go into alcohol withdrawal if you significantly cut back on excessive use.2 

One symptom of alcohol withdrawal is sweating. Other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:3

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability 
  • Mood swings
  • Jumpiness
  • Trembles
  • Brain fog
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe confusion

Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and potentially life-threatening. You must seek professional treatment for alcohol misuse and addiction.

5. Alcohol Intolerance

If you have alcohol intolerance, alcohol consumption can lead to unpleasant side effects. The most common symptoms include a stuffy nose and flushed skin. But sweating can also be a symptom.1

An alcohol intolerance means your body cannot break down alcohol well.1 Some people are more prone to alcohol intolerance than others. Alcohol intolerance is typically genetic. The only way to prevent the symptoms of alcohol intolerance is to avoid drinking alcohol.

6. Other Causes

There are also other reasons why you might sweat while drinking alcohol. For example, you might be sweaty due to your drinking environment.

These environmental factors include:

  • Climate
  • Heat from the sun, if you're drinking outside
  • A crowded venue with poor ventilation
  • Drinking warm alcoholic drinks like spiked cider or mulled wine

Also, some people drink alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with social anxiety. One common symptom of anxiety is sweating. So you might start sweating due to anxiety and not alcohol.

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Alcohol Withdrawal and Night Sweats 

One symptom of alcohol withdrawal is night sweats. This happens because alcohol affects how your nervous system functions and how your body regulates and senses temperature.7 

Night sweats are especially common among delirium tremens (DTs). This is a severe type of alcohol withdrawal. It involves sudden and severe symptoms that affect the nervous system.4

Other withdrawal symptoms can also cause night sweats. These include:

  • Increased heart rate or rapid heartbeat
  • ​Clammy skin
  • Sweaty skin
  • Flushed face or skin
  • Thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headache

Alcohol Intolerance and Night Sweats 

Alcohol intolerance can cause night sweats. This is because your body has difficulty breaking down the alcohol you consume.

While it is rare for an alcohol intolerance to be fatal, symptoms can be very unpleasant. If you struggle with alcohol intolerance, avoid alcohol altogether.

Hangover, Hot Flashes, and Sweating

A hangover is a set of mental and physical side effects from one heavy drinking session. It occurs when your body’s blood alcohol content (BAC) drops back to zero.5

Symptoms of a hangover include hot flashes and sweating. Most hangovers only last a few hours, but some can last for upwards of 2 days.

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Tips for Managing Alcohol Sweats

Here are some tips for managing alcohol sweats:

  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help your body regulate temperature.
  • Replenish lost electrolytes: When you sweat or urinate after drinking, you lose electrolytes. Regain electrolytes by drinking energy drinks or fruit juices.
  • Be mindful of how much you drink: If you drink a lot of alcohol in a short time, your body will have a hard time metabolizing alcohol. This can worsen hangover symptoms.
  • Seek professional help: If you are struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), seek professional treatment. Professionals can help you quit in a safe and effective way.
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When is Treatment Necessary?

If you are experiencing excessive sweating from drinking alcohol, it is best to try to cool down. Regulate your body temperature by drinking fluids such as water.

Profuse sweating can be dangerous because it can dehydrate you. If you experience severe sweating that does not subside, seek help from a licensed medical professional.

If you are experiencing alcohol poisoning, you will need emergency medical help. An alcohol overdose can lead to serious medical conditions and potential death.

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

If you or someone you know suffers from alcohol use disorder (AUD), you are not alone. In fact, 14.1 million adults in the U.S. suffer from AUD. But alcohol addiction treatment is available.11

Available treatment options for AUD include:

Updated on July 6, 2023
11 sources cited
Updated on July 6, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Alcohol Intolerance.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 15 Apr. 2020.
  2. Alcohol Withdrawal.” Harvard Health, 22 Apr. 2019.
  3. Alcohol Withdrawal: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  4. Delirium Tremens: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  5. Hangovers.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  6. Landsberg, Lewis, et al. “Do the Obese Have Lower Body Temperatures? A New Look at a Forgotten Variable in Energy Balance.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, American Clinical and Climatological Association, 2009.
  7. Night Sweats and Alcohol: Causes and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International.
  8. Rachdaoui, Nadia, and Dipak K Sarkar. “Pathophysiology of the Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Endocrine System.” Alcohol Research : Current Reviews, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017.
  9. Skin Blood Flow in Adult Human Thermoregulation: How It Works, When It Does Not, and Why.” Mayo Clinic.
  10. Tan, Chan Lek, and Zachary A Knight. “Regulation of Body Temperature by the Nervous System.” Neuron, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 Apr. 2018.
  11. Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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