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Columbus Monthly: The science of hangovers

As New Year's Eve approaches, many people will be getting ready to pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate 2018. But with that fizzy drink – and others you might imbibe in – can also come the dreaded hangover the next morning. So why do people get hangovers? Can they be treated?

Recently, Columbus Monthly reporter Lori Kurtzman interviewed Colin McCluney, MD, with OhioHealth Family Medicine Grant, to find out.

But first, what is a hangover? It can basically be a variety of different symptoms including a headache, thirst, fatigue and/or a dry mouth. In short, a hangover means you are going to feel terrible. “It’s a pretty variable syndrome from person to person,” Dr. McCluney told Kurtzman. “What [hangovers] are is actually an area of some research and not a lot of clear answers.”

And, the level of a hangover is different for everyone. Someone could even drink a little more than you, but your body might metabolize it differently and make you feel worse the next day.

About the only thing you’ll have in common is that your body has metabolized most of the alcohol you consumed and it is not feeling very good. “It does seem to be kind of a stress response,” Dr. McCluney told Kurtzman.

Researchers might not know exactly why, but they know that age and gender can affect a hangover, Dr. McCluney said. The type of alcohol you drink can also matter – for example, a vodka hangover might not be as bad as a whiskey one.

But what about remedies? Fried food, Gatorade, hair of the dog?

“No. You’re not getting rid of your hangover,” Dr. McCluney said. “[Especially if you keep drinking] you’re just delaying it and probably making it worse.”

Dr. McCluney said there is no cure for a hangover, except for time.

To read the full article, click on the Columbus Monthly image below.