Posted in Health, news

Hangovers, the Painful Truth

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP

Updated from Dec 31, 2015

 

Ahhhh…..Schools back in and party season starts….unfortunately its a painful one for most.  Hangovers fill us with physical and psychological regret and always appear to get topped off with someone telling you “I told you so!”…….

So what is a hangover?  Its a constellation of symptoms that occur post-partying…..and include headache, muscle ache, nausea, anxiety, moodiness, wanting to avoid light and loud sounds, eye redness, thirst and dizziness, though some hangovers may have many more symptoms.

They could be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Dehydration – alcohol isn’t the best choice to replace lost fluids during a night of dancing, plus it causes increase in urination
  • Low blood sugar – caused by lack of good nutrition over the last 12 hours and enhanced by drinking alcohol
  • Poor sleep – let me guess, you didn’t get a good nice, cuddly, deep sleep for 9 hours once you came home
  • Irritated stomach lining – alcohol tends to do that and ticks off the pancreas as well
  • Acetaldehyde – a chemical converted from alcohol that has been postulated to make you feel nauseous and achy, either during its breakdown in the liver or after its metabolism
  • Cytokine production and release – seen in inflammatory states and can make you achy

Other theories suggesting lactic acid build up, withdrawl from drinking the night before, and congeners that are compounds that vary in alcohol types (red wine vs vodka).

So how do you avoid the dreaded hangover?

Firstly, try to avoid getting drunk.  Set your limits and stick to it.

Secondly, drink plenty of water throughout the night and once you get home.

Finally, don’t drink on an empty stomach to “speed up the buzz”. Your empty gut will absorb alcohol quicker so eat a good nutritious meal prior to partying.

Avoid popping antiinflammatories or Tylenol once you get home because your stomach and liver are already irritated from the alcohol and this may make matters worse.

Chinese researchers back in 2013 found Sprite to be the best hangover cure but the jury is still undecided on that.

My suggestion is to pace yourself, enjoy a mocktail or glass of water throughout the evening, make the veggie tray your best friend to get as much nutrition in you, and take over the mic when its karaoke time.

Then you won’t have to regret getting a hangover…… although you may regret the videos of you singing posted online the next day……..

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

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Author:

Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Assistant Professor Touro University Nevada

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