Why You Shouldn’t Take Aspirin For a Hangover

Have you heard the myth that taking aspirin can cure your hangover?  Most people are familiar with this idea and other types of potential cures, but what many do not realize is that most do not work for one reason or the other.  As you consider how to improve your aching head, realize that some drugstore medications can actually be worse for you than the hangover’s short term effects.

Take aspirin Before You Drink, Not Afterward


Aspirin can work in limited ways to reduce the overall effects of this condition, but to make it work effectively, you do need to focus on taking it properly.  Take the medication before you start drinking.  Drink several glasses of water when taking it, and also in the morning after waking.  This is the only way to see some dulling effects on the headache you will undoubtedly have after a night of drinking.

Drink Water Before AND After Drinking Alcohol


The main reason you have a headache after drinking is because alcohol is a diuretic – it makes you lose water and dehydrates your body.  The reason your head pounds when you wake up is that your brain has been soaking in alcohol for 8 hours while you sleep and is now dehydrated, like a pickle in a jar.  When your brain is even slightly dehydrated, it shrinks slightly inside your skull, causing the headache.  By drinking water before and after drinking, you can ‘plump up’ your brain with water and cushion it from the dehydrating effects of drinking.


Side Effects and Risks


Aspirin works as a blood thinner, just like alcohol does.  It can increase your risk of bleeding in the stomach, specifically in your Gastrointestinal (GI) track.  Avoid taking other types of headache medications for your hangover.  Acetaminophen, which is the main ingredient in Tylenol, for example, is one of the leading causes of liver failure in the United States.  While it may stop the headache temporarily, it does nothing more to improve your health, and also damages the liver when you take it.  Anyone with sensitivity to aspirin most definitely should avoid taking it. 


To sum up, you may just want to drink as much water as possible before and after drinking, and give your body time to heal naturally after a hangover, rather than trying to use medications that can damage your long term health.  Always talk to your doctor or physician if you have a headache that is unusually severe, last for 3 hours or longer after drinking, and is accompanied by muscle weakness, blurred vision or flashing lights.

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