How does a hangover actually develop?

You wake up with a dry mouth, a screaming thirst, a head that explodes and a stomach that turns three times. As you stumble towards the bathroom, you only think one thing: I will never drink again. Many people will recognize this situation. It is the hangover that follows an evening or night doused in alcohol. But what actually happens in your body that makes you feel so miserable after a heavy drink?

Sag in an evening can give you quite a hangover the next morning. You feel weak, nauseous, tired and have a splitting headache. Why do you feel so miserable after drinking alcohol? That has several causes.

Weakness and headache due to fluid loss

The main culprit behind a hangover is fluid loss, also known as thirst. Alcohol encourages your kidneys to excrete extra fluid. This means you have to urinate more often and your body dries out. The loss of fluid makes you feel weak and tired, and causes a dry mouth. Furthermore, dehydration causes the fluid that is between your brain and skull to disappear. As a result, your brain 'bumps' against your skull, which is quite painful. 

Acetaldehyde headache

Another cause of your headaches and shaky feeling the day after, is 'acetaldehyde'. This toxic substance is created during the breakdown of alcohol. Your body also tries to break down this substance as quickly as possible. Do you have a major headache and difficulty keeping your glass of water upright? Then these are two indications that not all acetaldehyde has been removed yet. 

Nausea through your stomach mucosa

Is your stomach upside down after a night out? That is not only a matter of a wrongly fallen fries hair salon. Alcohol causes irritation of the gastric mucosa, resulting in a nauseous feeling.

fusel alcohols

Alcohol arises from the fermentation of grains and fruits. In addition to ethyl alcohol - the normal alcohol - this process also produces other types of alcohol. These 'fuzel alcohols' occur in small quantities, are toxic and are broken down by your body even more slowly than 'normal' alcohol. The size of your hangover partly depends on the amount of fusel alcohols that are still in your blood. The number of fusel alcohols differs per drink. Vodka, for example, contains the least fusel alcohols and plum brandy the most.

Your personal circumstances

How you feel the moment you start drinking will affect your hangover the next day. So are you tired or down when you drink alcohol? Then there is a good chance that your hangover will be even worse the next day.

Now you know exactly what the underlying causes are for your miserable state of being after a night of drinking.


Do you know:

The older, the less crazy?

Getting older has many benefits, but not in terms of hangovers. The older you get, the worse your hangover is. This has to do with your metabolism. Your metabolism makes your liver work to break down the alcohol you've been drinking. This slows down as you get older. So there is a good chance that your liver still has a lot of alcohol to get rid of the morning after a party that got out of hand.


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