Hangovers – Headaches

Hello Children, it’s time to learn about one of the many upsetting effects of alcohol. Okay, I know most of you are probably people actually going through a hangover and you want to know why this is happening to you… I mean, you’re a good person (probably). So why oh why is last night hurting you today?

What is a hangover?

Unlike the movie ‘The Hangover’, where the characters pretty much go on an adventure the day after a rowdy night with seemingly no physical repercussions other than a couple tattoos, a hangover would probably make you want to sleep for a whole day.

A hangover, formally called a veisalgia, is basically the umbrella term for the after effects of drinking. It includes headaches, body aches, tiredness, weakness, thirst, nausea (sometimes vomiting), general stomach pain, diarrhea, and a slew of other symptoms like depression, vertigo and decreased attention.

Of course, you won’t likely experience all of these symptoms at once! There are different hangovers and they depend on how much you drink and how well your body is at detoxifying the alcohol. If you drink a lot and your body detoxifies alcohol at a very slow rate, then you will likely have an extremely bad hangover (unless you take some precautions – which will be explored in a later post!).

Why do we get hangovers?

If you recall last week’s post, where we discussed the effects of alcohol on the body, alcohol inhibits a hormone. This hormone, the antidiuretic hormone, is responsible for the reabsorption of water by your body’s kidneys. Without the activity of this hormone, the water that would have been retained by your body goes straight to your bladder and is then excreted. This loss of water results in your body becoming dehydrated, which leads to you getting a hangover.

Headaches and Hangovers, oh my!

Even though you are consuming a form of liquid, the amount of alcohol consumed is not as much as the amount of water lost during urination. This dehydrated state is what causes your headache, as the organs in your body are trying to their best to retain as much water as possible – even if that means stealing water from your brain. This results in your brain shrinking in size, making the membranes that connect your brain to your skull stretch – thus your headache. Crazy, huh?

Next week, we’ll talk about the relationship between Electrolytes and Hangovers.

Prostate

When I hear November, I think ‘Movember’. The month of the ‘staches. And just like their moustaches, females are unable to have the type of cancer that the month raises awareness for: prostate cancer. But what is the prostate? What does it do normally? Warning: Children, talk to your parents if you’re reading this. There’s a wee wee on here.

What is the prostate?

The prostate is an organ only found in men. It sits below the bladder and wraps around the urethra (which is a tube that carries urine [and sperm for men] from the bladder to the external environment). It has three lobes: the left, center and right lobes, and is part muscle and part glandular.

Now pick up a walnut. That’s approximately the size of a man’s prostate. That’s pretty small for an organ!

So what does this walnut-sized organ do?

The prostate is important for secreting fluid that is slightly alkaline, which will form part of the seminal fluid. The seminal fluid is the fluid that carries sperm from the urethra to the tip of the penis.

The prostate also helps in male climax (or orgasm). Its muscular portion will help the propelling of sperm and its own secreting fluid into the urethra, where it will then exit.

The Male Reproductive System, including the prostate.

The growth of cells in the prostate is stimulated by the male hormone, testosterone.

And those are the basics of the prostate! Join me next week when we talk more about the prostate.

 

Have a topic you’d like to learn about? Why not suggest it here!