So, you’re in your 30s. And along with some other lovely surprises like wrinkles and back ache, your hangovers seem to be worse.
Not just a bit worse, but biblical.
You spend the day lying on the sofa, ordering takeaway, wondering if you’ll ever feel normal again and cursing yourself for buying that last round of tequila shots.
And more often than not, the headache rolls into Monday as well.
But you’re not just living up to the ‘moaning millennial’ stereotype – because hangovers actually are worse once you hit your fourth decade.
‘They feel worse, because they might actually be worse,’ agrees Dr Philippa Kaye, GP and author of Doctors Get Cancer Too.
So, what is actually going on inside your body during a hangover? Well, it’s not pretty.
Obviously, they vary from person to person, but dehydration is usually the main reason why you’re feeling so rough.
Ethanol is a toxic chemical that works in the body as a diuretic, which increases the production of urine. So basically, it makes you go to the toilet more and you become dehydrated as a result.
Not only that but alcohol does lots of other not-so-great things to your body. It produces toxins – which can cause vomiting – and also messes up your immune system.
Drinking alcohol triggers the same immune response as fighting an infection, which is why you might also feel exhausted, achey, and have that dreaded headache.
And, of course, alcohol also irritates your stomach lining and causes chaos to your digestive system. Enough said.
But why do these symptoms feel so much worse as we get older? Dr Philippa says there are a number of factors involved.
She told Metro.co.uk, ‘Firstly, your liver is less efficient at processing the alcohol, which might be why the hangover lasts longer.
‘And, as you get older, you also store less water in the body. This means that the impact of dehydration – a key part of your hangover symptoms – can get worse.’
As for how to prevent a hangover – a cure simply doesn’t exist.
Dr Philippa says, ‘There is no way to avoid a hangover apart from not drinking.
‘But knowing when you have had enough is helpful, as well as making sure you drinking plenty of water.
‘Keep a glass by your bed as it’s useful to drink water whenever you wake up in the night to go to the toilet – and as alcohol impacts your sleep, you are likely to get up.
‘If a hangover does strike then again, make sure that you are drinking enough water, eat plain simple foods to not further irritate the stomach and you can use simple over the counter painkillers for a headache.’
And what about hair of the dog? Unfortunately, you’re just putting off the inevitable. ‘It doesn’t work,’ says Dr Philippa. ‘It simply raises your blood alcohol level higher again and puts off the hangover for a bit until later.’
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