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How Do I Choose the Best Hangover Medicine?

By T. Alaine
Updated May 17, 2024
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The most important part of treating the symptoms associated with consuming excess amounts of alcohol is that there is no magic hangover medicine that will ease your suffering. Instead, there are several actions you can take that, when combined, will act like a hangover medicine to reduce the pain and discomfort of symptoms such as headache, nausea, and fatigue. Choosing a “hangover medicine” is about finding ways to ease pain, settle the stomach, and reinvigorate your body after drinking too much alcohol.

Some people will argue that the best hangover medicine is preventing one to begin with, but realistically this does not always happen. The best way to prevent a hangover is to limit alcohol intake, but if you do end up consuming too much, try to also drink plenty of water as the evening progresses or before you go to bed. Dehydration is the root of many hangover ills, particularly headache and light-headedness or weakness.

The best hangover medicine as far as dehydration is concerned is water, because rehydrating your body is crucial to feeling better. You might find that water is difficult to tolerate due to a queasy stomach; sports drinks, juices, tea with honey and lemon, or ginger ale will help hydrate and might be less likely to irritate your stomach. These alternatives to water will also help raise your blood sugar and help you regain some energy, which is especially important if you are unable to eat.

Some people are completely unable to eat during a hangover, but slowly eating bland foods such as toast can be a valuable part of hangover medicine. Bananas are also suggested as a remedy for hangovers because they help restore potassium levels after they are diminished by the frequent urination associated with intoxication. Coffee, which is widely believed to be excellent hangover medicine, is actually a tricky subject. If you drink coffee regularly, then foregoing caffeine might intensify a headache, however drinking it could further dehydration, restrict blood flow, or upset your stomach.

There are some traditional medicines that can help ease certain aspects of a hangover, particularly headache and upset stomach. Painkillers containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen are commonly turned to as a hangover medicine, and can help reduce headache discomfort. Stomach settling medicines that contain sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate are popular and often effective choices, and ginger is also known for combating queasiness.

Doing what you can to treat hangover symptoms is a step in the right direction, but if your hangover is severe enough, the only real cure is time. Waiting out a hangover can be unpleasant, but will hopefully be made more comfortable by treating with several aspects of hangover medicine. Sleep, of course, is an excellent way to pass the time, since it will also strengthen the body and relieve fatigue.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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