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Can Dehydration Cause Migraine Headaches

Dehydration Headache Location What Does A Dehydration Headache Feel Like

Dehydration Headaches

Because headaches are a common symptom of many different conditions, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out whether the pain in your head is being caused by dehydration or by something else. Pinpointing the location of your headache pain may offer some clues.

Dehydration headaches may cause pain on all sides of your head, while a migraine may only cause intense pain on one side of the head and will often be accompanied by symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or light and sound sensitivity.5 Dehydration headaches will also feel different from a sinus headache, as dehydration headaches do not cause pressure or pain in the face, while sinus pressure headaches do.6

Another simple way to identify a dehydration headache is to check for other common dehydration symptoms. If you suspect that you have a dehydration headache, you will likely also experience some or all of these symptoms in addition to your headache:2

  • Increased thirst
  • Dark yellow-colored urine or decreased urination
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability

Changes In Or An Irregular Sleep Schedule

The connection between migraine and sleep is undeniable. Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the bodyincluding the brainso it makes sense that when your sleep schedule becomes irregular, you are more prone to migraine attacks. Something else to note when it comes to sleep: Nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00am and 9:00am, putting people at a greater risk for developing a sleep disorder.

How to cope: Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Eliminate TV, texting, reading, and listening to music while in bed, and try your best not to nap during the day. This article from the AMF Resource Library has great information and tips on how to make a sleep plan that works with your lifestyle.

How To Prevent A Dehydration Headache

The only way to prevent a dehydration headache is to stay adequately hydrated, which means getting 15.5 cups of fluids per day for men and 11.5 cups of fluids for women.

This can include water, but also other beverages, such as fruit juices or tea, and meals. In fact, one fifth of our daily fluid intake is from water-rich foods like celery or yogurt.

Important: Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine as they will only contribute to dehydration, possibly exacerbating your headache.

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How To Prevent Dehydration

The best way to prevent dehydration headache is to drink water before you notice the signs. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, along with other unsweetened beverages. Eat whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

Use the formula at the beginning of this article to determine how much water you need to stay healthy. Set a goal to drink that much every day for 7 days. Then extend the goal to 14 days. Then a whole month!

Some tips to stay hydrated include:

  • Drink when you are thirsty: Thirst is one of your body’s first signs of dehydration. Don’t ignore it!
  • Pay attention to your pee: You want to be heading to the bathroom fairly often, and you want your urine to be clear or pale in color.
  • Drink plenty of water before exercising: You lose more water through sweat, especially if temps are high. Drink water before you lose it to prevent dehydration and dehydration migraine.
  • Replace fluids lost through sweat: Try to pay attention to how much you sweat. If you sweat a lot, drink more water.
  • Replace fluids lost through vomiting or diarrhea: Sadly, an upset stomach is really common with a Migraine attack. If you are vomiting or having diarrhea, you need to make sure to drink even more water. If you’re unable to keep fluids down for more than 24 hours, seek medical attention.
  • Dont forget electrolytes: Regular water is enough to prevent dehydration for most people most of the timeMigraine Again Verified Source

For even more tips for staying hydrated, read this.

Create A Prevention Strategy


Forming a prevention plan with your doctor is key. Your strategy should center around anticipating and alleviating triggers. That might involve increasing your hydration or temporarily using preventive medications, Dr. Klenofsky says.

Additionally, steer clear of migraine-activating foods, especially when theres rain or thunderstorms in the forecast, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Common offenders include:

  • Alcohol

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Staying Hydrated To Prevent Migraines

Drinking enough water does more than just prevent dehydration headaches it can also prevent migraines. While we do not know exactly what causes a migraine, we do know that dehydration is a known trigger for migraine headaches. One study even showed that when the study participants drank more water each day, they had fewer symptoms and less severe migraines overall.

If you experience regular headaches, even after increasing your intake of fluids, a more severe underlying condition may be present. The headache experts at The Pain Center can utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies and a physical exam to find the source of your headaches.

How To Tell If Your Headache Is Due To Dehydration And 4 Ways To Relieve The Pain Quickly

  • Dehydration headache pain is located on both sides of the head and causes a throbbing sensation.
  • Dehydration causes because blood vessels in the brain temporarily shrink.
  • To treat a dehydration headache, drink water, rest, and take an OTC pain reliever.

A headache is a common symptom of dehydration, but did you know why?

Turns out, when you’re dehydrated, the loss of fluids causes blood vessels in your brain to temporarily shrink which can trigger a headache.

While a dehydration headache isn’t a medical emergency in and of itself, it is a sign that you’re dehydrated, which, if left untreated can increase your risk of more serious conditions like heat illness, UTIs, and seizures.

Here is what you need to know when it comes to dehydration headaches from how to treat one to prevent it from recurring.

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Migraine Triggers Often Work In Combination

Often, its not one particular trigger that sets off your migraine attack but a combination of factors that build up. These could include:

  • Stress: Drinking wine when youre stressed or anxious could produce a headache, while a glass or two when youre happy and relaxed is fine.
  • Dehydration: All alcohol causes some level of dehydration, which is a known trigger for migraines. Sip a glass of water in between each glass of wine to keep dehydration at bay.
  • Hunger: Its an easy mistake to wait too long to eat when youre having a couple of glasses with friends. This causes your blood glucose to dip and is also a common trigger for a migraine episode.
  • Foods: Many social events include snacks that are on the list of foods to avoid, such as fried, fatty finger snacks, nuts, hot dogs and food containing MSG or food dyes. Eating just one of the wrong foods on top of the other factors could set off your migraine.
  • Sun or bright lights: Drinking wine outdoors on a sunny day sounds wonderful, but in reality, it can be a headache waiting to happen. For migraineurs who are light-sensitive, too, a social event indoors under spotlights can also up the ante in favor of an attack.
  • Noise: A vast majority of social events include loud music, and even if they dont, a large number of people in attendance can generate quite a conversation buzz. Add that to your wine sensitivity and the combination could be painful.

Tyramine Containing Foods Are Often Cited As Migraine Triggers


If youve done some research on a Migraine diet, youve probably run across tyramine. Tyramine is a byproduct found naturally in some foodsparticularly those that are aged and fermented, like cheese.

Foods produce tyramine when the amino acid, tyrosine, is converted to epinephrine, which is an adrenal gland hormone. The resulting byproduct, tyramine can trigger Migraine attacks in those who are sensitive.

Heres the catch: it doesnt affect everyone equally. Some people are amine-resistant, meaning they have a difficult time breaking down any amine, tyramine included.

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How To Treat A Dehydration Headache

Dehydration headaches will vary in length depending on the individual, but research has found that, depending on how much you drink, the headache can be resolved within 30 minutes to three hours. Here are four steps to follow in order to treat a dehydration headache:

1. Drink water: The number one way to treat a dehydration headache is to drink more water, says Grace Fjeldberg, RDN, a nutritionist at Mayo Clinic. A 2004 study found participants who drank at least 500 mL to 1000 mL of water felt relief from their headache within 30 minutes and their headache resolved after one to three hours.

2. Drink electrolytes: Electrolytes are essential minerals such as sodium and potassium that we lose through sweat. If you are an endurance athlete or someone who works outdoors in the heat, drinking beverages with electrolytes, such as Gatorade or Powerade, may help resolve dehydration symptoms. However, also drink water, which is more important for hydration than electrolytes alone.

That’s because most people consume enough electrolytes in their daily diet, says Fjeldberg.

3. Take OTC pain relievers: Taking medicine such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol can help with a headache, but Fjeldberg says this will not manage the problem in the long run. Hydration should be the first course of action.

4. Rest: If you are feeling a dehydration headache on a hot day, Uren suggests finding a shady or cool spot to rest and drink water until you feel able to continue exercising or other activities.

How To Get Rid Of A Dehydration Headache

Since dehydration is the root cause of your headache, it is important to rehydrate as well as relieve the pain. Therefore, to treat the dehydration you should:

  • Drink more water by sipping small amounts frequently until symptoms subside
  • Drink a rehydration solution which is scientifically formulated to contain a balance of glucose and electrolytes to help your body rapidly rehydrate. These solutions are formulated based on the World Health Organization criteria for effective rehydration and are more effective than sports drinks, which often contain sugar and artificial colors and flavors.
  • Rest in a cool environment so that you can rehydrate without sweating

To treat the pain and get fast relief, you can take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

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Can Dehydration Cause Nausea And Headache

Can dehydration make you feel nauseous?

Dehydration can cause nausea and dizziness. The nausea may lead to vomiting. This makes you lose even more water, worsening symptoms. Nausea may also be linked to low blood pressure caused by dehydration.

How long does it take for dehydration headache to go away?

How Long Does a Dehydration Headache Last? Drinking water should make you feel better within about half an hour, although for some people it may take as long as three hours. If you have a dehydration headache for days and it’s not relieved by drinking more water, it is time to talk to a doctor.

What does dehydration sickness feel like?

Symptoms like lightheadedness, muscle cramps, and general weakness are indications that the body is failing to compensate for dehydration. Nausea and vomiting are particularly bad because they can cause the situation to get worse.

Triggers Of Migraine Headaches

  • Sleep changes. Getting too much sleep or too little sleep can lead to migraines in some people. 30%-50% of individuals who suffer from migraines also experience disturbed sleep.
  • Beverages. Certain beverages including alcohol and drinks with caffeine are common triggers of migraines. Alcoholic drinks, particularly wine, contain byproducts known as congeners. They are linked to headaches. Alcohol also signals the immune system to produce more histamine which increases inflammation throughout the body and can lead to headaches. Caffeine-filled drinks such as coffee are linked to migraines. The chances of experiencing a migraine increase when an individual consumer three or more caffeinated beverages per day.
  • Stress. Everyone experiences stress at home and at work. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage or control, but too much stress can wreak havoc on the body and lead to migraines.
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    Dehydration Headaches: Symptoms Treatment And Prevention

    Most people will suffer from a headache at some point in their life but luckily some common types of headaches, such as dehydration headaches, can be treated easily and avoided in the future. In this article, you will learn the symptoms of a dehydration headache, get tips on headache treatment, find out how long your dehydration headache will last, and learn when to speak to a doctor.

    How Long Does Dehydration Sickness Last

    If the problem that caused dehydration is resolved and the person gets the right amount of fluid, mild to moderate dehydration can resolve in less than a day. Severe dehydration or dehydration of long duration should be treated by doctors in a hospital and typically takes 2 to 3 days to resolve with proper treatment.

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    Can Dehydration Cause Headaches

    People often get dehydrated and are not even fully aware dehydration has developed. Dehydration occurs when the body is not getting enough water or other fluids to function normally. Anyone can get dehydrated, and it develops due to one or more causes that include the following.

    • Get busy and forget to drink fluids throughout the day
    • Vigorous activity that causes heavy sweating, like participating in sports or hiking
    • Working outside in the heat or sun
    • Illness causing a high fever
    • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
    • Medications causing frequent urination
    • Chronic disease like diabetes that overwork the organs and force fluid from tissues

    Most people will experience dehydration periodically throughout their lifetime. This is despite the fact it is easy to prevent in most cases.

    What Causes Dehydration

    Dehydration Headache : Symptoms, remedies and treatment

    This is not going to be an exhaustive list. What causes dehydration for one person won’t be the cause for someone else, but the most common link to dehydration is the fundamental lack of drinking enough water . Most of the time, healthy adults should be drinking between six and eight glasses of water per day . When thirsty, the act of drinking water is usually enough to quench it. The rest of the time, dehydration can be caused when your body is letting go of water, and this happens in a variety of ways, including:


    Sweating when overheated or during a workout/overexertion/carrying heavy equipment. We sweat most when our heart rate is high, and fever can do this as much as being in the heat outdoors

    Episodes Of Illness

    Most people experience dehydration when they are ill as the fluid in their bodies is lost very quickly as the body cannot hold onto it, whether through diarrhea or vomiting.


    Excessive crying can dehydrate you with enough tears, as you are losing water. During those times where life is hard, and tears are regular, dehydration can occur.


    Everyone loves a glass of wine or two, but not everyone realizes that alcohol is a diuretic. A diuretic makes you urinate far more frequently, and the after-effects of alcoholnamely a hangoverindicates that your body is severely dehydrated and needs fluids.


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    How K Health Can Help

    Its important to know whats causing your headache. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

    K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

    Tips For Drinking More Water

    Now, you may be wondering and wanting to know how you can increase your water intake. Theres many different methods to get into the habit of drinking more water daily.

    • Tracking your intake: Setting an alarm or reminder on your phone to drink water is a good strategy. There are also several apps you can tailor to your water intake goals. There are even high-tech bottles that connect to your smartphone and record how much you drink.
    • Flavor it: Try adding fruit to your water such as lemons, limes and oranges. Watermelon, strawberries, cucumber and different herbs are good options as well.
    • Keep a reusable water bottle with you: Keep a bottle with you handy wherever you go so you have easy access to water at all times.
    • Replace or alternate drinks with water: Replacing sugary drinks with water can boost your health and reduce calorie intake as well as help keep you hydrated. You dont have to give up soda or juice completely, simply try alternating with water. When you finish a glass of water, switch to your drink of choice, then back to water and vice versa.
    • Make it part of a routine: Make a point to finish a glass of water with meals or after going to the bathroom.
    • Eat foods with high water content: An easy way to increase water intake is by eating foods made up of mostly water such as lettuce, watermelon, celery, and cantaloupe.

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