Hangovers are hell. Feeling like death has prompted many a party animal to vow ‘never again!’
The night before was great – but now you are flattened by a combination of extremely unpleasant after-effects. Your head’s pounding, you feel sick, you ache all over, you have to keep dashing to the toilet and your mouth feels like the bottom of a parrot’s cage…and someone close those drapes! It must have been a heck of a night – was it worth it?
Let’s take a look at just one of those horrible symptoms – the pain that’s pounding through your head like a pneumatic drill. How does drinking alcohol give you such a humdinger?
Why does alcohol give me a headache? The evil ingredient is a substance called Ethanol. It’s made by fermenting the sugar and starch found in grains and is used to make alcohol and also motor fuel!
Ethanol can give you a headache in several ways. It can directly cause your blood vessels to enlarge (vasodilation) which give you that pounding head. It is also a natural diuretic, which also loses you vitamins, minerals and salt. When you body realizes that it is becoming dehydrated, the blood supply to your limbs and skin surface is diverted to the major organs such as your brain, as a survival mechanism. This causes the blood vessels in your brain to vasodilate (expand) and there’s your headache.
Unless you’ve been drinking ‘moonshine’ – 70% alcohol (in which case, you’re in real trouble) the chances are that last night’s drinks contained not only alcohol, but other chemicals as well. These are what give the alcohol its color and taste and are called congeners. They’re the impurities that occur during fermentation. A general rule is, the darker the drink, the more congeners. These can also cause headaches and will definitely give you a hangover if you drink too much of them.
So, now we know why we get a headache. What can we do about it? The old saying that “prevention is better than cure" is sadly true here. The only sure-fire way to avoid an alcohol-induced headache is not to drink and although we’ve all vowed never to touch it again, the memory of the hangover fades and so does our resolve.
The best way to cure a headache from over-indulgence is to tackle the cause. The main cause is dehydration so it makes sense to drink plenty. Some people swear by a taste of what they had the night before, but that’s not a great idea. It won’t do your body any favors and may start off a dangerous habit.
By far the best is either plain water or sports drinks. These contain electrolytes, i. e. the minerals, vitamins and salt, which the alcohol has caused you to excrete.
Hangovers may become a thing of the past. Scientists have recently found a gene that helps fruit flies to develop a tolerance for alcohol. The gene has been appropriately named ‘hangover’. So future drinkers may be able to imbibe without the pain.
I guess we should be grateful – but a good night out just won’t seem the same somehow!
For more vital and important information on headaches and their causes, especially by other substances such as caffeine visit the resource rich site, http://headaches.healthhows.com .