Do Women Get Worse Hangovers Than Men?

Hangovers are a complicated beast. It’s a bit out of date now, but this is one of our absolute favorite pieces of hangover science.
pathology of a hangover

There’s a lot of stuff on that chart. Loads of things that don’t make a difference in a hangover. Loads of others that do. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that there’s nothing about sex. I mean, dancing is on the chart. How often are you at a club, and suddenly think to yourself “woah, hold on, this might lead to a hangover”. Even genetics isn’t really referring to sex; that’s really talking about differences in the specific genes that govern the metabolization of alcohol. So, do women get worse hangovers or not?

Now if you look around online, you’ll almost certainly find some articles saying that women get worse hangovers. Maybe they’ll blame body fat percentage, or maybe they’ll say it has something to do with the percentage of water in your body....if they’re real smart, they might even explain how the two are related. If you look hard enough, you might even find some articles saying men get worse hangovers! So what does the actual science say?

When it comes to the clinical studies that have been conducted on the topic, it’s similarly contradictory. Some studies have shown a difference between men and women; sometimes that difference is that women get worse hangovers, sometimes it's men. Others that try and correct for factors that might bias the result (height, weight, ethnicity, etc) don’t seem to find anything. There evidence is all over the place.

At the end of the day, it’s not clear whether women get worse hangovers than men if you account for obvious differences like weight and the amount being drunk. That said, it is absolutely clear that factors like height and weight do matter. So if you’re built more like Danny Devito and your friend is a bit of an Andre the Giant, probably best you don’t go shot for shot with them.

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