Fluid loss in the body has a way of affecting the brain and causing constant migraines and pain.
If you experience a headache often when you get dehydrated, then you should not panic as it’s not an unusual occurrence.
However, should you leave it untreated just because it’s normal? Of course not.
Read this article to learn more about what causes your dehydration headaches and ways you can make it go away.
What Is A Dehydration Headache?
Ever wondered why your migraine keeps getting more intense because of dehydration?
Perhaps you have not been drinking enough water, and you notice that each time you feel dehydrated, the feeling gets accompanied by a series of migraines and headaches.
Then what you’re feeling is a condition called dehydration headache.
About 60% of the average human body is made up of water, and without water and the right amount of electrolytes, body functions become impaired.
Regular activities like the excretion of liquid wastes such as sweat and urine include fluid loss in the body, and this lost fluid has to be replaced constantly.
Dehydration occurs when you do not take enough water into your body system, causing the body to lack the number of fluids needed to carry out its regular functions.
When this dehydration occurs, the brain also gets temporarily affected by fluid loss, and that’s what causes your dehydration headache.
Dehydration headaches might not feel the same for different people, as they can occur with a broad series of symptoms.
However, the most common sign in individuals with the condition is a pulsating ache on both sides of their head, which is often aggravated or elevated by their engagement in physical activities.
It can occur to each of us from time to time when the body experiences fluid loss, without fluid intake, to replace the loss.
In most cases, dehydration headache goes away when the individual takes in water, causing fluid and electrolyte balance to return to normal.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Dehydration Headache?
Our body relies on water to perform most of its daily functions, and a whole lot can be affected in the body when there is constant fluid loss without replacements.
Headache is usually known to be a symptom too the disease conditions, but in the case of a dehydration headache, it’s the primary symptom.
Typically, the most common symptoms of dehydration headache are intense headache and a migraine.
Before that, however, individuals might feel a dry throat, extreme thirst, and some slight discomfort preceding the migraine.
The symptoms of dehydration headache vary widely, in some cases depending on the severity of the condition.
Signs of dehydration that may accompany your headaches include:
- Extreme thirst
- Reduced ruination
- Dryness of the throat
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increase in heart rate
- Muscle cramps
In much more severe cases where an individual experiences intense dehydration, some additional symptoms might surface. Some of such symptoms include:
- Lack of sweating
- Shrivelled skin
- Sunken eyes
How Long Does Dehydration Headache Last?
Generally, dehydration headache is not expected to last for an extended period, as drinking enough water should make it go away.
As long as you take in enough water, your dehydration headache should go away within 3 hours.
Dehydration headaches that do not go away after this time frame are regarded as extreme and could be another complication entirely.
If your dehydration headache does not go away after you might have gotten well hydrated, then you should consult your physician.
In such a situation, there is a possibility that another condition aside from dehydration causes the headache.
That is, it is linked to other disease conditions other than dehydration.
Why Your Dehydration Headache Won’t Go Away?
Daily, the body requires a balance of fluid and electrolyte for several functions, including brain functions.
As the body loses water daily, electrolytes also get lost. Often, when this loss occurs, it can only get balanced by taking in enough water.
So when your dehydration headache cannot go away, that could only mean that you are not taking in enough water.
When you forget to get yourself hydrated enough, your dehydration headache might fail to go away.
Another reason your dehydration headache might not go away is associated with some other disease conditions.
Such a situation would warrant that you get yourself treated alongside getting hydrated. Some of these causes include:
Diarrhea is a disease condition characterized by the frequent passing of loose, watery stool and constant dehydration.
When you’re sick or down with diarrhea that causes severe dehydration and loss of electrolytes, your headache might not go away soon.
The best way to go about it is to treat your diarrhea to prevent the condition of abnormal fluid loss.
When you’re also sick and vomiting, you will experience fluid loss and dehydration.
Getting yourself hydrated might not be the only way to stop your headache; hence, the reason your dehydration headache isn’t going away.
Some certain medical conditions like diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder stones e.t.c.
It can cause frequent urination in persons, which causes dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
Additionally, certain medications can also cause increased urination in persons.
Conditions like these might have to be treated and taken care of to reduce dehydration before your headache can go away.
How Much Water Do I Drink To Get Rid Of My Dehydration Headache?
When you are not adequately hydrated, your body lacks the fluid needed for its proper functioning.
Health experts generally recommend that one drink about 8-ounce glasses of water daily. That makes up about 2 litres of water in a day.
To get rid of your dehydration headache, commit yourself to drink at least ten glasses of water or other fluids.
While you’re trying so hard to get rid of your dehydration, try not to drink fluids like alcohol, juices with alcohol content, beverages, or coffee because they will only worsen your dehydration.
How To Get Rid Of A Dehydration Headache
Your dehydration headache can be treated, and the most basic remedy would be to drink enough water.
Once the headache kicks in, drink as much water as you can. Usually, your headache should go away after three hours of drinking 2-3 glasses of water.
Try not to take in the water hurriedly; drinking too much at a time can cause vomiting. So take it slowly, one gulp at a time.
You can also prevent headaches from happening at all by always drinking enough water. Carry a bottle of water with you outside the house.
You can also add lemon, sugar-free mixes, or substances that can make you more drawn to taking your water often.
Other helpful tips on getting rid of your dehydration headache are:
Use Of OTC Pain Relievers
While you try to get yourself hydrated, you can also take some over-the-counter pain-relieving medications. Some of them are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen.
These medications can help relieve the headache while the fluid balance is getting adjusted in your body system.
However, do not forget only to use medicines as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist.
Self-medication might be even more detrimental to your health than your dehydration headache is.
Use Of Cold Compress
This is another home remedy that can help numb the pains from your dehydration headache, and an ice pack will do the trick.
All you have to do is get a pack of ice and slightly keep compressing your headache till it subsides.
The ice can be packed in a plastic bag and placed on your forehead for some minutes.
Another alternative that you can use asides from the ice pack is a washcloth. Soak the washcloth in a bowl of cold water, squeeze, and place it on your forehead.
Repeat the procedure continuously for about 10 minutes.
Taking Electrolyte Drinks
As we have earlier established that dehydration can disrupt the overall balance of electrolytes in the body.
You can get rid of your dehydration headache by taking drinks that can boost electrolytes in your body system.
Replenishing this imbalance with such drinks can help relieve your headache.
Always remember to pay a visit to your physician if your headaches do not go away.
Lastly, some of the medical conditions we mentioned earlier as other likely primary causes of your dehydration headache.
Seek professional advice if at all your dehydration headache persists.
And lastly, before you stop reading this. Prevention, they say, is better than cure.
If you have noticed that dehydration triggers your headache often, you can prevent this from happening at all by keeping yourself hydrated constantly.
Do this and watch yourself get free of constant headaches from dehydration.
Healthline: Recognizing a Dehydration Headache
MedicalNewsToday: How to recognize a dehydration headache