As the festive season approaches, many of us will find ourselves waking up with a headache after overindulging the night before. Even more painful for girls, when your partner claims to feel great while you struggle to stand up straight and feel sick, you must be angry at yourself for not being as fit as the boys and that you both drank similar amounts of alcohol. So are hangovers really gender related, we're here to tell you the answer today.
It's completely normal for women to have worse hangovers than males, according to British dietitian Amanda Ursell, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. Women are more likely to be affected by the same amount of alcohol than men, mainly because they have a higher percentage of body fat and therefore less water in their bodies.
Women get less water, so it affects us more quickly. Not only that, but men also have a small amount of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in their stomachs that breaks down alcohol, which is otherwise toxic and responsible for hangovers. Women, on the other hand, do not have this enzyme. This means that they can start the metabolic process much faster than women. On top of this, women all have slightly smaller organs compared to men, so girls also tend to have smaller livers and so are less able to produce alcohol dehydrogenase, which can also lead to worse hangovers.
Women's bodies have alcohol dehydrogenase levels in a biphasic pattern, which means they have two phases. Women naturally eat more in the evening than they do at lunchtime. So if you're going to drink an alcoholic beverage, you're better able to metabolise it in the evening than at lunchtime, which is usually why girls feel that alcohol seems to affect them more at lunchtime.
When it comes to hangovers, people often have their own version of what can help them best overcome them the next day. It's very individual and the way people deal with alcohol varies from person to person. When you drink to excess, your poor liver takes a beating as it desperately tries to detoxify the alcohol into a non-toxic alcohol. On average, it can only process one unit of alcohol per hour. Some people metabolise alcohol very quickly. There are still limits to how much you can metabolise per hour, but some people don't seem to suffer from hangovers as much as others. In fact, these vary from person to person, and each person's body type is different and can be affected by a hangover all differently.
But for girls, you should never try to keep up with men when drinking because biologically speaking, women are just at a disadvantage. This is not a comment on gender, it's just a biological difference between men and women.