Anyone suffering from hair loss or looking for a non-surgical option to treat joint pain can benefit from platelet rich plasma therapy. It’s a safe and minimally invasive treatment that doesn’t require much downtime. However, to guarantee optimal results and a smooth recovery, there are some aftercare instructions that patients need to follow, such as watching their alcohol intake.
So why can’t you drink alcohol after a PRP treatment? Alcohol is a known blood thinner and it can affect the body’s natural healing process and worsen bruising and inflammation. Additionally, alcohol can impair the platelet function which can compromise the results of the platelet rich plasma injections. It’s best to avoid any heavy drinking for at least a week before and after PRP therapy.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol After PRP Treatment
Autologous PRP therapy uses the power of the blood platelets to stimulate wound healing and tissue regeneration. It was initially used in regenerative medicine for treating chronic pain, musculoskeletal conditions, and joint injuries. But more recently, many aesthetic practitioners have also been using PRP for promoting hair growth and skin rejuvenation.
The most crucial step in a PRP treatment is isolating the platelets from the red blood cells and white blood cells. The platelets contain multiple growth factors and proteins that kickstart the repair of tissues. But keep in mind that there are several factors that can influence the platelet concentration in the injections and affect your recovery from the procedure.
One of the important reminders given to any PRP patient is to avoid alcohol after the injection. While it’s a fact that excessive alcohol consumption has long-term effects on the health, it can specifically affect PRP treatment by:
1. It decreases the healing function of the platelets
Platelets have a vital role in the body’s healing process. It promotes blood clotting and is a rich reservoir of different growth factors that are essential for restoring damaged tissue, growing new cells, and stimulating collagen production. However, increased alcohol levels in the body can affect the platelet count and function in a PRP treatment.
With low platelet count and decreased viability, PRP injections may not provide its maximum healing and reparative abilities. As a result, patients will not be able to get the results that they want and they may not see any improvement in their hair loss condition or pain symptoms.
2. It prolongs bruising and inflammation after treatment
Drinking alcohol before and after the treatment can make patients more susceptible to bruising and inflammation. The reason for this is that alcohol is a vasodilator and it can widen the blood vessels and increase blood circulation in the treatment area.
When you consume alcohol just before your PRP procedure, you may easily bruise right after the treatment since more blood leaks out from the vessels. Likewise, it can affect how your body responds to the platelet injections and heals from the procedure. Since you’re more likely to get bruises with increased alcohol consumption, you may have a longer recovery period after the PRP injections.
3. It promotes dehydration
After a PRP injection treatment, it’s necessary to stay hydrated but it doesn’t mean you should drink alcohol. While it can temporarily quench your thirst, alcohol is a diuretic and it can easily dehydrate you because it causes fluids to pass quickly through the renal system. Dehydration may cause more cell and tissue damage. Additionally, you’ll feel more fatigued which can extend your recovery period and disrupt your body’s natural healing process.
When Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol After PRP Therapy?
Although there’s no downtime after PRP treatments, patients are generally advised to take it easy with their activities for the first few days following their procedure. This includes avoiding social drinking and excessive alcohol consumption for at least 3 to 7 days after the injections.
Patients can take alcohol again once most of their side effects have subsided. However, it’s still important to drink alcohol in moderation since, aside from affecting PRP results, it can lead to possible chronic health problems and weaken your platelet function and immune system in the long run. It can also worsen thinning hair and promote inflammation to diminish your joint health.
Other Important Dos and Don’ts After Platelet Rich Plasma Injections
While PRP is non-surgical, there are still some side effects that patients can experience after the procedure. This can include swelling, redness, mild pain, bruising, and soreness. Some individuals may also experience lightheadedness or nausea since the procedure involves blood extraction.
Here are some aftercare reminders to help relieve the discomfort and side effects of PRP injections:
- Don’t take any anti-inflammatory medication for at least 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. They may inhibit platelet function and affect your natural healing response.
- Discontinue steroid injections and blood thinners for several weeks until your provider clears you to take them again.
- Don’t consume any herbal or nutritional supplements like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, fish oil, and turmeric for at least a week after the procedure.
- Take plenty of rest and avoid any rigorous activity that may strain the treated area especially if you received PRP joint injections.
- Use crutches to help with your movement after your PRP treatment, especially if you feel the need for it.
- Don’t use any harsh chemicals or hair styling products for at least 24 hours after a PRP hair restoration treatment..
- Don’t go into saunas or steam rooms for at least 48 hours.
- Continue avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and smoking for up to 72 hours after the treatment.
- Increase your water intake to stay hydrated and have a smooth recovery.
How Long Does It Take To Heal and See Results From PRP?
The average recovery time for PRP injections varies according to how the patient responds to the treatment. It can also depend on several factors such as the extent of the injury, severity of hair loss symptoms, number of PRP injections, and amount of platelets in the serum.
Most patients who received PRP for mild symptoms of pain and minor injuries can see improvements in their condition within 2 to 3 weeks. Some may even notice immediate pain relief and reduced inflammation in their injection site for the first few days after treatment. However, it can take up to one month for the injections to work for serious injuries.
Meanwhile, PRP for hair restoration can take about 3 to 6 months to see quantifiable results after the treatment. It naturally takes some time to nourish the follicles and promote new hair growth. It can also take more than one PRP treatment to get optimal results for hair loss.
How Effective Are PRP Treatments?
With PRP treatment, patients don’t have to undergo an invasive surgical procedure for their hair loss, sports injury, or joint pain. Although it requires multiple sessions, its results are comparable to surgery and it doesn’t come with any serious complications or adverse effects. It can also provide long-lasting improvements and can last anywhere from 6 to 9 months for joint pain or hair growth.
According to one study, PRP is about 60% effective for treating the symptoms and providing relief from knee osteoarthritis. Another clinical review shows that PRP hair restoration can provide significant improvement in hair count and density within 3 months of receiving the injections.
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PRP is a safe and effective treatment choice for a wide variety of cosmetic and medical concerns. However, patients should closely follow aftercare instructions to guarantee the best possible results from their procedure. One important reminder is to avoid drinking alcohol so it doesn’t interfere with the healing process and the actions of the platelets.
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