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Are you suffering from headaches and missing days of work? Now, it might be a dehydration headache.

There are different types of headaches, and almost 9/10 adults are sure to experience certain headaches at some stage of their life.

Dehydration headaches are quite easy to treat and can be avoided easily too.

This article mainly discusses the dehydration headache – what it is, what the symptoms are, and how to prevent or treat it.

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Dehydration Headache

What Is A Dehydration Headache?

Dehydration headache can be classified as a secondary headache, caused by lack of fluid inside the body. It can both be mild or severe, like a migraine.

A dehydration headache tends to occur in situations where the body has lost essential fluids (sweating), which are required for the body to function in the right way.

Our body requires the right balance of electrolytes and fluid to work properly.

Regularly, our body loses water in various ways – urinating, sweating, etc.

The loss of fluid from the body can be easily recovered by consuming fluid-rich foods and drinking lots of water.

However, many times the loss of water from the body is faster than being replenished.

In such times, the body becomes dehydrated, and thus, leads to certain complications. It is the leading cause of a dehydration headache.

When our body suffers from dehydration, the brain can shrink for a limited time due to fluid loss.

As it causes the brain to pull away from our skull, we experience pain, and it also results in a dehydration headache.

As soon as we rehydrate ourselves, the brain returns to its original position, and the headache is relieved.

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Symptoms of Headache from Dehydration:

People can sometimes relate dehydration headaches to intense migraines or dull headaches.

The pain caused by a dehydration headache can occur all around the head, or only the sides, front and back.

Pain from a sinus headache can affect the face, but unlike it, a dehydration headache won’t induce facial pressure or pain.

It is also unlikely that the pain will occur at the back of the neck, which is a characteristic of tension headaches.

A few symptoms of dehydration may arise since dehydration headaches most likely occur when you are low on essential fluids. Below are some symptoms:

  • Intense thirst
  • Less urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Sticky and dry mouth
  • Low skin elasticity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increase in heart rate

In cases where people are extremely dehydrated, a dehydration headache may appear.

People who have dehydration headaches may experience further symptoms, along with the symptoms mentioned above.

Some further symptoms people have while suffering from intense dehydration headache include:

  • Less sweating
  • Sunken eyes
  • Fever
  • Delirium
  • Losing consciousness
  • Skin with reduced moisture

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Can Dehydration Cause Headache?

Intense sweating, fever, and Diarrhea, all of these are potential causes of a dehydration headache.

Now, when does a dehydration headache occur?

It occurs only when a person is dehydrated, or in other words, not drinking enough water.

Even modest dehydration can cause dehydration headaches.

When does dehydration happen? It happens when the body does not receive the least amount of water to function properly.

Many times, the amount of liquid intake is equal to the amount of excretion.

Water mainly exits the body in two ways –  urination and sweating.

Some of the factors that enhance the risk of dehydration are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Intense sweating, it may happen due to heat or heavy exercise.
  • Fever
  • Increased urination

Risk factors for Dehydration:

People of all ages can face dehydration; the chances are pretty high.

Everyone faces mild dehydration from time to time although some are more prone to dehydration.

People with increased risk of dehydration:

  • People living in high altitudes
  • Young children
  • Aged people
  • People who have chronic illnesses, like kidney disease or diabetes
  • People who consume medicines that increase urination
  • Athletes who have to endure a lot
  • People living in hot climates

People mentioned above should take extra care to avoid dehydration.

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How to Get Rid Of Dehydration Headache:

If you are suffering from a dehydration headache, you want a treatment. Consider applying some of the treatments below:

  • Increase fluid intake
  • Try to increase liquid intake
  • A sports drink can help replace lost electrolytes
  • Try limiting physical activity and avoid exposure to heat, to reduce sweating

The measures mentioned above can prove to help treat the dehydration, but it may take some time for the headache to relieve completely

If you are looking for fast relief, you may want to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for alleviating the pain

Treating Severe Dehydration:

In some situations, such as an extreme period of diarrhea and vomiting, home remedies might not be useful in avoiding dehydration.

If you are facing severe dehydration, immediately consult your doctor and seek medical attention, which can prevent further complications like:

  • Damage to the kidneys
  • Shock
  • Seizures

In such cases of emergency, professionals can tackle extreme dehydration through intravenous salt and liquid replenishment.

Preventing a Dehydration Headache:

Since dehydration causes dehydration headache, the best idea to avoid it should be avoiding dehydration.

The steps below can be useful in preventing dehydration:

Your body requires 4-6 glasses of water per day, although some people choose to drink more or less.

The main focus should be on drinking enough water.

Try eating foods that are high in fluid. Cucumbers, fruits, and other vegetables are a great option to start with as they are rich in water.

Spread out the quantity of liquid consumed throughout the day, rather than just drinking all of it at once.

Keep yourself hydrated while in hot weather or during exercise.

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An increase in water intake is needed in such conditions since heat and exercise; both can readily drain fluid from your body.

So, drinking more water than usual at such times will meet the body’s need for the extra water.

Treating the underlying causes can be another way to fight dehydration.

Infections within the body and fever generally cause the body to lose more liquid, try increasing your liquid intake as well as addressing the causes of dehydration.

Try avoiding alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine because both of these are effective in increasing urine output, putting you at a greater risk of dehydration.

If you are feeling unwell, consider reducing activities in heat that drain a lot of energy.

Both illness and heat can raise the need for fluid intake in the body. Intense exercise can cause the extra liquid to flow out of your body through sweat, and it can be dangerous in such situations.

The steps discussed above can help prevent dehydration headaches.

If someone experiences anything particular other than dehydration headache, they should talk with their doctor to identify any of the underlying causes that might be there.