Doctor explains why hangovers get worse in our 30s – and does hair of the dog actually work?

Whether you’re in your late 20s or scratching the early 40s, it’s likely that you have noticed your hangovers getting worse as you’ve gotten older.

Nowadays, you wake up from a boozy sleep with your head pounding and a greasy takeaway on the way, while you look back fondly on the days when you would feel semi-fresh after an alcohol-fuelled evening.

This situation only gets worse when the headache rolls into Monday and you have a full working day ahead.

But according to experts, you aren’t turning into a moaning millennial – hangovers actually get worse once you hit your fourth decade.

“They feel worse, because they might actually be worse,” explains Dr Philippa Kaye, GP and author of Doctors Get Cancer Too.

While people react differently to alcohol, the main reason as to why we feel so rough during a hangover is because of dehydration.

The main component of most alcoholic beverages is ethanol – a chemical that works in the body as a diuretic, which increases the production of urine – making you more dehydrated as a result.

The substance also produces toxins within the body, which can make you vomit and affect your immune system.

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That’s not the only havoc alcohol causes on the body, it can trigger the same immune response as fighting an infection, making you feel more exhausted and giving you that painful headache.

Not only that, but it irritates the stomach lining and messes up the digestive system – so it’s no wonder you feel dreadful the following day.

But why do so many of us struggle with these symptoms even more as we age? Dr Philippa reveals the reasons why.

“Firstly, your liver is less efficient at processing the alcohol, which might be why the hangover lasts longer,” she told

“And, as you get older, you also store less water in the body. This means that the impact of dehydration – a key part of your hangover symptoms – can get worse.”

When it comes to a hangover cure, no such remedy exists.

Dr Philippa explains: “There is no way to avoid a hangover apart from not drinking.

“But knowing when you have had enough is helpful, as well as making sure you drink plenty of water.

“Keep a glass by your bed as it’s useful to drink water whenever you wake up in the night to go to the toilet – and as alcohol impacts your sleep, you are likely to get up.

“If a hangover does strike then again, make sure that you are drinking enough water, eat plain simple foods to not further irritate the stomach and you can use simple over the counter painkillers for a headache.”

Many of you may be thinking, ‘What about hair of the dog?’, but the doctor says drinking more when you’re hungover is a waste of time.

“It doesn’t work. It simply raises your blood alcohol level higher again and puts off the hangover for a bit until later,” she added.

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