The Medical Processes Behind an Alcohol Hangover

If you are anything like the millions of other people in the US who have had too much alcohol to drink in a night, you probably know what is coming for you the next day. That would be a killer hangover that you wish you never had gotten. Let be real, hangovers a rough, but they can be avoided.

Different physiological things going on in your body as a result of the excessive alcohol that you have consumed cause all of the symptoms that you experience during an alcohol hangover. Each of these symptoms below comes from a different physiological response when alcohol hits either your digestive or urinary systems, especially your stomach, kidneys, and your bloodstream.

The Medical Processes Behind an Alcohol Hangover

Symptoms of an Alcoholic Hangover

Nausea and vomiting – Alcohol does quite a number on your stomach. Just a few simple drinks can cause your stomach to produce more acid and keeps it from emptying it as well. This will make you feel very sick the next day and can induce vomiting. When you drink alcohol, your liver also releases what is known as acetaldehyde, which also can result in nausea and vomiting the next day.

Killer headaches – This is often the hardest symptom to have because it makes moving around or doing anything the next day feel impossible. Alcohol dilates your blood vessels. In the beginning, this can be beneficial for you because it makes you feel more relaxed. But after a few too many drinks, your heart starts to pump faster causing the blood vessels to not be able to expand fast enough to accommodate all of the extra blood. This pressure will result in headaches and even in more serious cases a full-on migraine.

Exhaustion and Sluggishness – Alcohol will also cause heavier blood flow to certain areas in your pancreas called islets. This will in turn cause your pancreas to start making more insulin and makes your blood sugar significantly drop. This will cause you to feel tired, weak, and exhausted. This is incredibly dangerous for someone who has diabetes as it can even be life-threatening.

Dehydration and excessive thirst – Alcohol is what is called a diuretic. This simply means it makes you pee more often. This will quickly drain your body of any extra fluids as well as any vitamins and minerals. As you begin to lose more and more fluids through frequent urination, you will become excessively thirsty and dehydrated if you are not drinking enough water to replace it. And let’s be honest you’re probably not worried about drinking water when you are partying. With dehydration also comes dizziness. As your blood pressure drops from dehydration, it limits blood flow to your brain and makes you dizzy.

How to Recover From Hangovers

For starters, do not go and try the “hair of the dog” method. That is never recommended and in the long run, won’t do anything to cure your hangover. Plus, there is zero concrete evidence that more alcohol will make you feel any better and can also lead to alcohol dependency. It is only going to overwhelm your liver and the rest of your body even more.

The best thing you can do is to help your body recover. To help with dehydration, drink thins such as Pedialyte and Gatorade. While water is also good for hangovers, drinks filled with electrolytes replenish the lacking nutrients that your body needs much quicker. Eating food can also help a hangover, but it will help even more if you make sure you have food in your stomach before you start drinking. This can alleviate a hangover before it begins. If you are feeling bad the next day, eat fruits and bland foods to relieve nausea and raise your blood sugar.

The best approach to avoiding a hangover is to avoid drinking altogether. If binge drinking and hangovers seem to be getting out of control, you likely have a drinking problem. If your drinking has gotten out of control, it may be time to look into getting some help. Recreate Life Counseling can provide the help you need. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and start your life sober and hangover-free.