What Causes Hangovers?

by | Jun 27, 2022 | Issue 150, Issues | 0 comments

Many have experienced this scenario: going to the bar with your friends, having too many drinks and waking up the next day swearing to never put alcohol in your mouth...

Many have experienced this scenario: going to the bar with your friends, having too many drinks and waking up the next day swearing to never put alcohol in your mouth again. Naturally, everybody hates the day after because of the heavy hangover. But how many people keep this promise? Let’s take a short journey and learn what a hangover is, its risks and why it manifests the way it does.

What Causes Hangovers?

Alcohol is the cause of hangovers because it has dehydrating and diuretic effects that lead to most hangover symptoms. Alcohol also contains a chemical named congener, which provokes intense hangovers. 

Because it contains these chemicals, alcohol affects your body in numerous ways, especially by causing the next day’s dreaded hangover.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

When you decide to drink, keep in mind to do it moderately. It is relatively safe to drink one night over your limit but always be aware there are immense risks with excessive alcohol. When drinking more and more, the effects alcohol has on our bodies multiply and become graver.  


Because alcohol has diuretic effects, your body will feel the need to urinate more frequently, amounting to faster dehydration. In turn, dehydration causes dizziness, headaches and an unquenchable thirst. 

Unpleasant Hangover Symptoms

Hangover symptoms are something most people hate. It is common knowledge that alcohol dehydrates, but there are some symptoms not everyone is familiar with. 

#1: Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, is a symptom caused by drinking alcohol. Alcohol lowers glucose production (i.e., sugar ) in the body and can cause dizziness, fatigue and irritability.  

#2: Can a Hangover Cause a Fever?

There is a possibility that you will experience a fever when hungover, but the chance is relatively low. If you have a fever after a night out drinking, it is mainly because you might be sick. 

#3: Muscle Aches

The body’s electrolyte levels can be disturbed by consuming alcohol. You may experience weakness, muscle aches, irritability and headaches by unbalancing the body’s electrolyte levels. 

#4: Digestive System Irritability

Alcohol can increase the production of acid in your digestive system. Depending on how much you drank the night before, the acid can accelerate or stall the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms associated with digestive system irritability are nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. 

#5: Sleeping Difficulties

Troubled sleep is nothing unheard of when it comes to hangover symptoms. You may feel the need to constantly sleep because you won’t be able to experience high-quality sleep. So if you decide to drink excessively, remember that you won’t be able to be productive the next day. 

The Difference between Light and Severe Hangovers

There are differences between light and severe hangovers. Usually, severe hangovers indicate alcohol poisoning, whereas a light hangover will leave you sore, dizzy, irritated and with a headache and some stomach irritation. However, if you experience the following symptoms, you could be dealing with alcohol poisoning:

  • Excessive vomiting;
  • Slow breathing ;
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature);
  • Confusion;
  • Seizures;
  • Passing out and difficulty remaining conscious.

Hangovers may not seem that harmful, but they sometimes are and can lead to life-threatening emergencies. In addition, because alcohol is already harmful to your body, it can lead to health problems. If you ever experience these symptoms, immediately consult a doctor. 

Can a Hangover Last Two Days?

Usually, a hangover lasts 24 hours, although there are some situations when the hangover lasts longer. Hangovers vary from person to person. If you are the sick person type or suffer from diseases that may over accentuate the alcohol effects, you can experience a longer hangover. Drinking more than you can carry will add to the hangover period.

Hangover Risk Factors

Some people are more susceptible to hangovers than others because genetic variations affect how alcohol is metabolized. So this means some people can become ill even after drinking a tiny amount of alcohol.

Besides genetic variation, factors that can make a hangover more severe are as such:

#1: Not Resting Enough after Drinking

If you are not going to sleep after a night of drinking, the hangover symptoms may become more severe as your body does not have enough time to reboot. Try to rest as much as possible while avoiding short sleep cycles. 

#2: Not Eating before Drinking

Not eating before drinking leaves your stomach empty and allows your body to absorb alcohol much easier. 

#3: Nicotine

Smoking is already dangerous, but when paired with drinking, it is even worse. Nicotine intake affects your hydration, sleep schedule and immune system. This can turn your simple hangover into a more severe one. 

#4: Darker Colored Alcoholic Beverages

Usually, darker alcoholic beverages contain higher levels of alcohol and congeners, leaving you with a more powerful headache and sorer muscles. 

Hangover Remedies

Some people think they have found the cure for hangovers, such as gurgling coffee right as you wake up or drinking a magic smoothie. But this is not the case. What truly cures your hangover is time. You have to wait it out, but there are things you can do that may speed the curing process.

Stay Hydrated: Hangover Tea

Staying hydrated is essential when talking about curing a hangover. For example, matcha tea is an excellent choice because it contains antioxidants and caffeine. Caffeine will reduce your headaches, and the antioxidants will detox your body. 

Another great tea is the turmeric green team, which is famous for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This tea helps calm your headache and encourages blood flow. It also soothes your irritated digestive system. 

Stay Hydrated: Hangover Juice

Although there is no such thing as a hangover-curing juice, certain smoothies can help. Unfortunately, people add the most random ingredients to their magic smoothies, like pickle juice and coffee. But there is a better way. 

Try making a smoothie with pineapple, cucumber, parsley, green gapers, lemon and green apples. Because all of these ingredients are full of antioxidants, your body will return to normal. In addition, the smoothie will keep you hydrated and detox your entire system and for more flavor, you can add some ginger. 

Hangover Pills 

A hangover pill is a medicine packed with vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes, ingredients well known to help soothe your hangover. But keep in mind that these pills do not cure your hangover completely. The hangover pills only help you get through your hangover a little better and faster, but they are no miracle. Some of the best hangover pills are:

  • Cheers;
  • Flyby;
  • AfterDrink;
  • NoDaysWasted;
  • Purple Tree.

A Parting Reminder

When talking about drinking alcohol, you have to be careful. Keep moderation in mind and avoid extremes. Learn your limits and try not to cross them for your own good.

Mălina O. R.

Mălina O. R.