How long do Hangovers last? 2-3 & 4 Day Hangover Symptoms & Causes
How long can or does a hangover last? What factors determine the duration and when is it severe? Can it last 2, 3 or 4 days? How long do symptoms such as stomach ache and throwing up last? Read on to learn more in addition to ideas and tips to prevent and cure.
How Long Do Hangovers Last? -Determinants
The most common question when you are in a hangover mood is whether that moment will end. With regard to the symptoms you are experiencing, the hangover may not entirely last with all the symptoms gone but whether all the symptoms have tolled down. Some people consider hangovers as the symptom or sign that they find most excruciating or cumbersome. Some will define hangover as the throbbing headache, the nausea and vomiting or the diarrhea they experience.
It would be most preferable when you consider the whole ‘disease’ gone to mean that you are no longer in the hangover feel. In normal occasions, hangovers begin several hours once you have stopped drinking. Remember too, that hangovers ensue when your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is zero.
Hangovers can last for as long as 72 hours (3 days). Fortunately, most hangovers last shorter than 3 days. Unfortunately, yours may last even longer. What determines the duration of a hangover?
There are many factors that determine the length of ‘suffering’ for your binge drinking. Among these include:
- How much you have drunk
- The ingredients of the alcoholic beverage you had
- How dehydrated you have become
- Health and Nutritional status
- Medications you might be on
How much you drink and the time duration
The more you drink the worse the hangover becomes and so does the proportionality apply to time factor. The more prevalent it becomes too. There are exceptions though when some people report that they experience hangovers even with very little alcohol taken such as 1-3 alcohol drinks. It is also shocking when chronic alcoholics report not experiencing any hangovers for a long while. The duration of exposure to alcohol whether in one seating or tapering addition of the amount consumed over weeks shows a direct proportion to the prevalence of hangovers.
In a study that involved Finnish men, research found that there is an association between increased weekly consumption and the hangover prevalence and frequency. In yet another research done by Harburg and his colleagues in 1993, 75 % of the subjects who drank to intoxication reported hangovers of higher prevalence. In the Finnish research, those who were heavy drinkers, consuming nearly or more than 106 grams weekly reported a more often case of hangover. Considering a scenario in which an individual consumes 9 bottles which is equivalent to 106 grams of alcohol in one night, then this really calls for a really nasty hangover.
The ingredients of the alcoholic beverage
Alcohol as the core of the beverage, is a chemical that gets broken down into a more toxic metabolite which is acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is the toxin which is mainly implicated in the effects of alcohol at the organic level. Acetaldehyde accumulation is seen to affect all body systems including the Cental Nervous System, the gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system and the kidneys.
An increase in alcohol concentration in the beverage will sure lead to a larger concentration of acetaldehyde churned in the liver. Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase gets degraded further into acetate but in a slower fashion than it is being synthesized. This leads to accumulation of alcohol too as the backward reaction is favored. The alcohol accumulates in body organs. During elimination of alcohol from the body after you have stopped drinking, the body starts experiencing a hangover. If the concentration of the alcohol was high, then you should expect a worse hangover.
The concentration of congeners and level of distillation of the brand of alcohol also determines the prevalence of a hangover. Consumption of red wine and other darker alcoholic beverages leads to a higher amounts of congeners in the body. Congeners in red wines and brandy have been shown to raise the level of histamine and serotonin and leads to headaches. Higher amounts lead to more fatal headaches.
How dehydrated you have become
If you consumed alcohol without having rehydrated yourself and still responded to the calls of the diuretic alcohol, then you must be optimally dehydrated. Dehydration and loss of electrolytes in the process is also one of the reasons why you get a hangover. The loss of water is directly linked to hypotension in the cranium that causes the headaches and low blood pressure deprives the brain of oxygen and nutrients. This causes the confusion and dizziness you get. Furthermore, electrolytes in the order of potassium and sodium are essential for neurotransmission, lead to tremors. Therefore, getting too dehydrated may explain the obnoxious symptoms you may get.
Gender matter too on account of the prevalence of a hangover. There are various factors to consider such as:
- Size difference – men have a larger body size than women and with this, the alcohol content is spread over this mass and is diluted.
- Differences in the content of body water – 55-70% is the body water content of a man and further lower, 45-55% is a woman’s. In men, the alcohol in the body gets diluted better than in women.
- The difference in the level of the alcohol enzymes – men have been shown to have higher levels of alcohol dehydrogenase in the stomach and this metabolizes alcohol at first-pass. With this kind of strategy, the alcohol will have been broken down earlier before it gets into systemic circulation.
- The variations of hormonal levels in both genders – women experience changes in their hormonal levels during pregnancy and menstruation. Research has found that intoxicated women 7 days prior to their periods maintain a peak BAC. This also applies to women who are on hormonal contraceptives. This shows that women, apart from suffering a greater level of impairment and hence nastier hangovers (gannell.cornell.edu)
Health and Nutritional status
Your state of health also matters and whether you have been taking good care of yourself. Your psychological well-being is important too. If you are drinking to boost your mood from a depressed or stressed state, the more you will drink to keep up with the stimulatory effects of alcohol. However, once alcohol depression catches up with you, you are forced to have it more with the illusion that it will reboost your mood.
Your physical well-being is important and more specifically your liver. If your liver function is low and is almost shutting down, then alcohol will not be metabolized. You will have a peak BAC for longer and the higher the prevalence of both impairment and hangovers.
If you are deficient of some very essential nutrients such as carbohydrates that fuel you up or trace elements and minerals, then you are at a higher risk of suffering prolonged signs and symptoms of a hangover. Low or lack of protein in your diet could also have a poor outcome during alcohol intake as acetaldehyde binds to proteins and in the event inactivates them. In the process, cells’ integrity is breached and you would need more protein to repair the cells.
Medications you might be on
Some medications exercabate the effects of alcohol and even result in accumulation of acetaldehyde effects of which you will feel hours later. Such include:
- Antibiotics such as cephalosporins. Metronidazole, trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole and isoniazid
- Cardiovascular drugs such as vasodilators, nitroglycerin, sulphonylureas, insulin and warfarin.
How long can/does a Hangover Stomach Ache & throwing up last?
How long does a hangover stomach ache last?
A hangover stomach ache should be gone within the next 24 hours or even earlier. However, the stomach ache may go on longer than the stipulated and one that goes for a day or two, should get you at the doctor’s.
How long does or can a hangover last throwing up?
Hangover nausea may go on for 2-3 days. As seen with the factors that determine the prevalence of hangovers, it may go for longer.
Fortunately, both of these symptoms can be treated with remedies of a hangover. When you take the foods and drinks best known for hangover symptoms, then you could recover earlier than the typical time.
How does a Two-2 Day Hangover Happen? Cause & Symptoms
The commonest causes of a 2 day hangover include;
- Binge drinking – if you have had alcohol in very high amounts of 4-9 bottles with no in-between time of a break of alcoholic beverage or water chug-a-lugs, then you may experience longer hangovers.
- Anxiety and depression – you may be physically doing well but if your conscience hits your wrong-doing or poor judgement, you may be stressed for a long time. This may be a result of misconduct and wrong behavior induced by alcohol.
- You did not hydrate enough – alcohol has a diuretic effect on your body. Hangover symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and sweating further dehydrate your body. If you did not have enough body water before, during or after drinking, then that would most likely explain your prolonged hangover. This means that you have lost plenty of electrolytes.
A 2 or more day hangover is a case of alcohol poisoning.
3 Day Hangover Symptoms & Causes
A 3 day hangover is also possible with causes being inclined to failure to take care of your body before, during or after drinking. It is caused by:
- Extreme dehydration
- Alcohol induced depression and anxiety
- Drinking too much of dark colored alcoholic beverages
- If you are a lady, you are in your periods and are having fluctuation of hormonal levels
Is a 4 Day Hangover possible? Is it a Severe Hangover?
- You might have intolerance to some chemicals in the booze.
- You might have weakened your immunity too much with the heavy drinking
Tips & Ideas to Avoid Long Lasting Hangovers
- Avoid alcohol or if this is not possible, know your limits. Know the ounces or number of bottles that will make you feeling sick for longer than 24 hours.
- Make sure you rehydrate enough before you consume alcohol to increase your total body water. Increased total body water dilutes the alcohol concentration in the body. Have a couple of non-alcoholic drinks in between the alcoholic drinks.
- When you are vomiting or are having diarrhea, treat as early as possible to avoid further dehydration.
- Keep note of the alcoholic beverages that you are intolerant to. Avoid them as much as possible.
- Avoid or have a few dark alcohol beverages. Don’t overdo them. Prefer the lighter ones to the darker.
- Maintain a healthy nutritional status to boost your immunity. This will help prevent infections.
- Avoid alcohol if you are pregnant or are in your menstrual period.
Recommended Further Reading
- What is a hangover? Meaning, Causes, without drinking & Help
- What does a hangover feel like? Signs & Symptoms of a Hangover
- How to get over a Hangover-Remedies to get Rid, Cure, Fix, Prevent Hangovers fast
- Blowfish, Alka Seltzer, Berocca & Pepto Bismol Reviews, Ingredients & Side Effects-Best Hangover Medicine & Pills
- Best Food for Hangover, Drinks and other good foods for hangover recovery & Relief
- Hangover Headache-Cure & Relief