How My Relationship With Alcohol Has Changed Due to MG

Michelle Gonzaba avatar

by Michelle Gonzaba |

Share this article:

Share article via email
problems making decisions | Myasthenia Gravis News | banner image for the

Throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy alcoholic drinks. But I’ve always felt that the holiday season offers the best cocktails and treats. I could blame it on the colder weather or the festive atmosphere, but the month of December always inspires me to look at the cocktail menu.

Even though I used to enjoy the occasional drink during the holidays, I’ve never been a big drinker. Before being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, I tended to stay away from alcohol. I never really liked the way it made me feel. Still, I could have one or two drinks with some food and not have to worry about any crazy side effects. However, my relationship with cocktails changed after my MG diagnosis.

Recommended Reading
myasthenic crisis | Myasthenia Gravis News | illustration of doctor with tablet

Comorbidities, Common in MG, Appear to Rise as Patients Age

As soon as I began treatment for MG, I stopped drinking alcohol. I don’t remember what my doctor said about it, but I do know I swore off any activities that could potentially make my MG worse. Even though alcohol affects people with MG differently, I didn’t want to take any chances.

I’ve now been in remission for years, but I still avoid alcoholic drinks. One reason could be my fear of its effects, but I’m mostly afraid of reliving my worst moments with MG.

Some believe that alcohol, which can cause muscle weakness and fatigue, may exacerbate these symptoms in MG patients, but I don’t have much additional information to base my fears on. So, I’ve stayed clear of the stuff for years. It’s hard to predict how it will affect me now. MG isn’t known as “the snowflake disease” for being predictable.

I’ve been tempted a few times to test my limits with alcohol. I’ve had many opportunities in social situations. But even when I’m at my most relaxed and comfortable, the fear is still stronger than the desire to enjoy myself. To be safe, I’ve always said no.

However, most people don’t know or understand my health situation. So, whenever I turn down a drink, they may give me funny looks or encourage me to “have fun” and enjoy myself.

These types of situations make me uncomfortable. I don’t want to have to explain my entire health history to people at a party. It’s not exactly a fun conversation, nor is it any of their business. I usually deflect with something humorous, or make up a story about needing to be up early the next morning.

MG has affected many parts of my life, but I never predicted my relationship with alcohol would change. While I think I could likely handle one drink without a problem, part of me doesn’t want to risk it. A bottle of beer really isn’t worth the worry.


Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


John Ulfelder avatar

John Ulfelder

I entered the hospital in early Match for treatment of my MG symptoms. Couldn't drink or swallow. Ended up with a feeding tube, first through my nose and down my throat then surgically inserted through my abdomen into my stomach. Spent 4 and 1/2 weeks in the hospital followed by 2 and 1/2 weeks in a rehab hospital. Sent home with feeding tube and "gruel". Obviously no alcohol from time first admitted to hospital and while using feeding tube. Extensive home therapies including speech and swallowing. Hurrah! in July swallowing function returned to mostly normal. I can eat and drink whatever I want. Pre-MG I used to be a moderate drinker of alcoholic beverages of all types. Even though my swallow function has returned, I have eschewed alcohol for three reasons. The reports I ave read from other MG patients suggest that alcohol throws them for a loop when they are taking standard MG medications, in my case prednisone and mestinon. Second, it adds unnecessary body weight and affects your blood sugar. Third, it interferes with healthy liver function, which is particularly importqnt when you are tking an immunosupressant like prednisone. I don't miss it and if I am out with friends I just order sparkling water with a wedge of lime. Looks like an alcoholic drink but isn't. Only question is what do I do with all the booze and wine in our small bar area. Once the pandemic ends I'll invite the neighbors over for a cocktail party!

Tom avatar


Hey folks - lets not let MG get in the way of life - personally speaking. I am 74 years old, diagnosed like 2 years ago, I do understand and expirence some issue when I enjoy an adilt beverages or 2 - but I will not allow MG to limit my life, within resaon, any more than I allow it to. I am blessed, yet have expirenced some not so good exipences with MG - yet chose not to allow MG to dominate my life. Be strong, be positive, live the best life you can. Do not let MG get in your way. Love you all, be strong , and enjoy life.

PS I have shot 2 Hole-In-Ones since my MG diagnosis - I am blessed with courage and Luck

Heather Kaye avatar

Heather Kaye

I don`t drink alcohol,the hardest part from day 1 of giving it up has been the attitude of others. I do not drink alcohol because I do not want to,yet so many other people have judged me as a kiljoy or spoilsport. In the end I thinned out my friends.At times this has left me feeling so sad,but now years on I have stopped putting myself in that particular line of fire.MG does not dictate my life,and I just focus on living my best life.
Best wishes to you all


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

BioNews Survey Infographic

Myasthenia Gravis News conducted a survey from Feb. 11-March 28 to gain greater insight into the characteristics of the MG community and disease management. Results of the survey have now been published. Click on the image to view the infographic, and click here to read the story.