A hangover is what someone gets after a night of binge drinking of alcoholic beverages or, at least, drinking more than what one’s body can easily process. Some drinkers are naturally susceptible to hangovers while others don’t ever experience it even after passing out from drinking too much. The reason for the latter is that about 25 to 30% of people are actually resistant to developing hangover.
What are the Reasons for Hangover After Drinking?
- The main reason behind hangover is alcohol consumption. As true as that reasoning is, it is not at all helpful because it says little as to the manner by which alcohol in the body can trigger hangover.
- When alcoholic beverages are taken in, the ethanol in them causes dehydration to the body. This is due to ethanol’s effect of increasing the urine production of the body.
- Because of frequent urination, which is one of the most common activities when drinking, there is now less fluids in the body, especially in the brain. A lesser fluid in the brain will cause headache. On the other hand, dehydration also affects the lining of the stomach, causing nausea.
- Apart from ethanol, another process that causes hangover is the breakdown of ethanol due to liver enzymes. The resulting product after several stages is ethanol that is many times more toxic than alcohol itself. Moreover, ethanol is cocarcinogenic, which means that it has the potential to cause cancer when paired with other cancer-causing elements.
- Another cause of hangover from drinking is the effect of alcohol on the liver wherein the amount of detoxifying agents in the liver are greatly reduced, leading to the liver’s reduced ability to free the bloodstream from alcohol and other toxins.
Signs and Symptoms of Hangover
Compared to the withdrawal syndrome that drug addicts suffer from, hangover is a much milder predicament. Basically, hangover is a message sent by the body to tell its owner that it is doing something to harm itself. When the sign is ignored, the result can be wholly unpleasant as all drinkers know.
The following are the signs of hangover:
- Vomiting: Vomiting is one of the most unpleasant symptoms of hangover. Awful as it is, one should not try to fight or postpone vomiting. One may even be thankful for it because it is the body’s way to free the body of the alcohol that may remain in the system. One important thing to do after vomiting is to drink water to rehydrate the body.
- Fatigue and Drowsiness: All those who have hangovers will feel sleepy. However, because of the high alcohol concentration in the brain, the person is unable to reach the REM stage of sleep. This failure will tell heavily on the person not getting enough rest. As a result, one may spend the whole night and half of the day asleep without the body feeling relaxed at all.
- Headache: Alcohol being a powerful diuretic, it can rid the brain huge amounts of fluids. When this happens, the result is headache that will only be eliminated once the body is sufficiently rehydrated.
Hangover Prevention Measures
Anyone who has experienced hangover can easily advice that the best way to prevent hangover is to stop drinking. Good as this advice may be, it is of little value especially if one cannot help it. Parties, anniversaries, reunions, and other gatherings usually involve drinking which may lead to hangover afterwards.
If one cannot quit drinking, then try doing the following to avoid hangover:
- When drinking, be sure to follow up every intake of alcohol with the same quantity of water. This will help offset dehydration due to alcohol consumption. Likewise, this will also prevent the unpleasant feeling of having dry mouth due to drinking. Downing water of the same quantity as the alcohol will also help dilute the alcohol taken in by the body.
- When drinking, prefer light-colored wined to darker ones. This is because dark alcoholic drinks tend to contain cogeners that makes hangover more severe.
- Make sure to eat before drinking. Specifically, consume foods that are rich in sugar such as cakes and pastries. This will help prevent hangovers because sugar is an efficient counter to alcohol.
- Last and most importantly, stick to your alcohol tolerance level and do not try to go beyond the limit. This more a measure of self-restraint, but the net effect is just as beneficial as those mentioned above.
- No one is likely to look forward to getting a hangover upon waking up after consuming too much alcohol. Thus, a lot of people would like to know how a hangover can be prevented. The following tips can be very helpful:
- Well, the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink alcoholic beverages at all.
- Still, if one can’t help it, at least, do not drink alcohol with an empty stomach.
- As much as possible, drink water to avoid dehydration.
- Drink milk before sleeping.
Natural Remedies to Relieve Hangover Symptoms
Hangover being a common problem after drinking, people seeks a lot of ways to counter it. The most effective means is toward reducing the symptoms and the unpleasant feeling that hangover entails. As such, there are plenty of home remedies for hangover:
- Drink plenty of cold water after drinking, especially in the morning after. Water will rehydrate the body, restoring to it the fluids that were lost due to urination. Moreover, the coldness of it offers a sort of welcome relief.
- Combine 2 teaspoon of fresh lime juice and 1 teaspoon of sugar and then mix it with a cup of tap water.
- Boil two pieces of banana peelings in a cup of water. Allow the water to cool down and then drink the preparation.
- Add lemon juice to a cup of black coffee then drink the preparation unsweetened and without creamier or milk.
- Apply a cold pack to the forehead. This will help bring down body temperature and provide a soothing relief from hangover.
- Take a hot bath in the morning to take away the toxins in the body that are causing the unpleasant feeling.
- Consume citrus and other fruit juices. These foods are rich in vitamin C, which increases the rate of breaking down the alcohol in the body.
Diet and Foods to Get rid of Hangover
The simplest thing that a person can add to his or her diet when having a hangover is water. Double or even triple the intake of water during hangover compared to what one normally consumes in any ordinary day. This is to restore the fluid level in the body and prevent dehydration. To make the water better at combating hangover, put some ice on it to make it cooler and produce a more soothing effect than normal water does.
The following are the other foods one can consume during hangover:
- Chicken soup. Actually, any soup will do but chicken soup is preferred more because it is tasty and contains nutrients to help restore the body to its normal health. If chicken soup is unavailable, one will do with instant noodles.
- Eat bananas. Banana is known to be effective in fighting hangover.
- Consume fruit juices, especially from citrus fruits. These will provide the body with the needed vitamin C which is very vital in faster breaking down of alcohol.
- For breakfast, nothing will beat hangover than having an omelet with cheese and eggs. Coupled with a serving of banana and fresh fruit juices, it will surely counter the effects of hangover in the body.