Urine ethanol concentration and alcohol hangover severity

Aurora van de Loo, Marlou Mackus, Gerdien Korte-Bouws, Karel Brookhuis, Johan Garssen, Joris Verster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between urine ethanol concentration and alcohol hangover severity. Methods: N = 36 healthy social drinkers participated in a naturalistic study, comprising a hangover day and a control day. N = 18 of them have regular hangovers (the hangover group), while the other N = 18 claim to be hangover immune (hangover-immune group). On each test day at 9.30 am, urine samples were collected. Participants rated their overall hangover severity on a scale from 0 (absent) to 10 (extreme), as well as 18 individual hangover symptoms. Results: Urine ethanol concentration was significantly higher on the hangover day when compared to the control day (p = 0.006). On the hangover day, urine ethanol concentration was significantly lower in the hangover-immune group when compared to the hangover group (p = 0.027). In the hangover-immune group, none of the correlations of urine ethanol concentration with individual hangover symptoms was significant. In contrast, in the hangover group, significant correlations were found with a variety of hangover symptoms, including nausea, concentration problems, sleepiness, weakness, apathy, sweating, stomach pain, thirst, heart racing, anxiety, and sleep problems. Conclusion: Urine ethanol levels are significantly associated with the presence and severity of several hangover symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Hangover
  • Severity


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