To begin with, a headache after drinking is an unpleasant consequence of drinking more alcohol than your body can fully metabolize. The "headache" is only one of the symptoms that one may experience. There is nothing like moderate amounts of alcohol when it comes to a condition like this one, even with people who rarely encounter hangovers. Still, it can begin as soon as you finish drinking alcohol or any alcohol-containing beverages and sometimes may take up to 16 hours before you experiencing a hangover. As you shall see, there are a number of biological effects responsible for headaches especially in susceptible people.
Why Do You Get Headache After Drinking?
Alcohol drinks contain ethanol and is made by fermenting sugars. It is clear, colorless with an aromatic flavor and smell that most people find satisfying. Ethanol is then absorbed into the stomach when a person drinks an alcoholic beverage and consequently enters the bloodstream and into nerve cells of the brain. Ethanol, being a drug, acts on the brain, kidneys, heart, liver, hormones, blood cells and stomach among other bodily systems. Quite simply, it serves as a suppressant and depressant on specific brain functions.
The ethanol element of alcohol causes the body to lose fluid. Dehydration, a misbalance of essential nutrients and body water becomes inevitable. This ends up affecting fluids that surround the brain thus resulting in decreased blood flow and blood pressure to the brain by widening the blood vessels that lead to the brain. In effect, these changes result in sensitivity and pain thus causing headaches.
Some chemicals present in alcohol such as histamine and tyramine are believed to interfere with brain chemicals. Events as these can result in headaches and trigger migraines in some individuals. Most people experience headaches the following morning upon drinking alcohol at the time when ethanol levels in the body falls. People who experience migraines tend to encounter hangover headaches more often than the average person.
How to Ease Headache After Drinking
Drink More Water
As afore mentioned, alcohol deprives the body of fluids and water is not an exception. On the same note, lack of sufficient water in the body leaves your body feeling weak and stressed. Rehydrate yourself by drinking a lot of water, especially before you sleep and when you wake up, to help you recover from the impending hangover. This aspect cannot be stressed enough. Add some lemon in your drinking water to help sooth your stomach. Avoid too cold or hot water at all costs.
Have Some Sports Drinks
Most sugary drinks offer more harm than good, but is not the case if you are experiencing killer hangover. Alcohol may cause the body to lose electrolytes as a result of the diuretic effect (increased passing of urine). However, it’s not too much to begin worrying. Look out for sports drinks that contain vinegar, water and salt to help replenish and rehydrate sodium and electrolyte levels. A good example is Gatorade.
Try Some Toast or Crackers
Recall when your mom bought you toast as a kid when you could not keep anything down? This is the same good advice for grownups that have spent their night out hugging porcelain thrones, too. Carbs can be very helpful in raising your blood sugar levels back up at the time of experiencing a migraine or headache. Ideally, when sugar levels drop, the liver reacts by releasing more glucose from stored carbs. However, if you’ve taken too much alcohol, your liver will be too busy metabolizing the alcohol and cannot manage more work. This means your sugar levels will remain low making you feel tired and irritable from head.
Take Some Painkillers
You can also ease that pounding head with a pill or two depending on your recommended dosage. However, use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. Avoid pills such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). This pill is great for headaches but when it combines with a strained liver, the outcome may be a damaged liver.
Do Some Exercise
It takes about an hour for your body to fully metabolize one drink –5 ounces of wine, a 12-ounce of beer or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Therefore, that “sweat it out” theory is purely a myth. On the same note, endorphin released during exercise is important in boosting your mood. Burning off few calories may manage your guilt just about how much you drank. You just need to keep your water bottle close to you to avoid being overly dehydrated.
Watch a video to see what doctors say about headache after drinking:
- Eat food before drinking. What food you eat after drinking does not matter –it’s what you eat prior to all those Jagerbombs that can determine or help reduce the pain the following day. Food is essential in slowing alcohol absorption. The longer it takes for alcohol to fully enter your bloodstream, the longer you will take before you become fully intoxicated.