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The National Headache Foundation: Hangover Headache

CHICAGO, Dec. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In one of the popular holiday songs, this season is described as "the most wonderful time of the year." But it is not so wonderful if you wake up with a hangover after celebrating the previous night. The National Headache Foundation is providing some sound advice to avoid those headaches, or deal with the aftermath of too much celebration.

  1. If you decide to drink alcoholic beverages – practice moderation. Sip your drink slowly. Avoid drinks with straight alcohol. Mixed cocktails that contain fruit or vegetable juices (think Bloody Mary) may have less adverse effects. Red wine is definitely a usual suspect for triggering migraine headaches. Naturally occurring chemicals, congeners, provide the specific characteristic tastes to the different varieties of wine and are believed to be the element causing the headache. Stick to white wine as it contains less congeners than its red relative. And monitor your intake – if enjoying a long evening, switch to soda or water.
  2. Eat some honey. Honey contains fructose, a sugar that helps the body metabolize alcohol. It is also rich in Vitamin B6 which can help reduce hangover symptoms. Before starting the festivities, take two tablespoons of honey on a cracker or piece of toast – and you may prevent the hangover. Another good source of fructose, tomato juice, also allows the body to burn the alcohol faster. Consuming fruit or fruit juice prior to drinking may also help prevent the symptoms of a hangover.
  3. During the party, alternate the cocktail or wine with a non-alcoholic beverage. This habit will reduce the amount of alcohol consumed, and also helps replace fluids lost by drinking alcohol. You can also order a glass of water along with your cocktail.
  4. Before you start celebrating, eat greasy food. In general, greasy food should be avoided because of health issues. However, in this situation, eating fatty foods (in moderation) may be helpful as these foods will line the intestines, delaying alcohol absorption. Eating a burger or burrito prior to drinking that cocktail or beer may help you feel better the next day.
  5. The day after the night before – drink fluids containing minerals and salts. Alcohol consumption causes dehydration and you need to be replenished. For example, drinking a cup of broth or bouillon replaces fluid and does not cause nausea. Sports drinks or water are also helpful when trying to replace fluids.
  6. Get a cup of java when you awake the next day. The caffeine in coffee may provide relief in dealing with the hangover headache. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor and will ease the dilated blood vessels.
  7. Although aspirin is okay, your stomach may not tolerate it after an evening of holiday celebrations. Ibuprofen is typically less irritating to the stomach than aspirin. If you cannot take aspirin, ibuprofen, or similar products, you may need to rely on acetaminophen to relieve the headache.

For those who experience chronic headaches during the holiday and throughout the year, you may need to consult your health care provider. If the headache is affecting work or school, and preventing your participation in social activities, it is time to seek help and get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

The National Headache Foundation (NHF) exists to enhance the healthcare of individuals with headache. It is the premier educational and informational resource for individuals with headache, their families, health care providers who treat them, and the public. The NHF accomplishes its mission by providing educational and informational resources, supporting headache research, and advocating for the understanding of headache as a legitimate neurobiological disease.

For information on headache causes and treatments, or for a list of physicians in your area who treat headache, please visit or call 1-888-NHF-5552.

SOURCE National Headache Foundation/Conduit Health Communications

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