"I love headaches!" - said no one ever. If you've experienced a headache, which chances are you have seeing nearly 2 out of 3 children will have had one at least once by age 15, then you know they are a pain - literally. In fact, headaches are one of the most common causes of pain and reasons for missed days of work.
There are many different reasons why people get headaches, but one of the most common reasons is simply due to a lack of H2O. It's true, when people don't drink enough water, they can get a dehydration headache - but what exactly is it, and what are the signs?
Keep reading to find out!
What Is Dehydration?
For your body to function properly, at it's very best, it requires the correct internal balance of water and electrolytes. Every day, these essential minerals and water is lost through sweat, saliva, breathing, urine, and other bodily fluids. A healthy diet is usually sufficient to replace the electrolytes and fluids lost throughout the day, but in certain conditions such as heavy sweating from strenuous exercise or vomiting following a night of drinking can lead to inadequate levels within the body. This is known as dehydration.
What is a Dehydration Headache?
Did you know that your brain is 73% water? When you become dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water causing it to shrink and pull away from the skull. This triggers your pain receptors surrounding the brain, leaving you with a not-so-fun headache.
Dehydration also causes your blood volume to drop, which in turn, lowers the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. In response, the blood vessels dilate, leading to inflammation and swelling, causing your headache to hurt even more.
So, how does one know if your headache is caused by dehydration? Great question.
Headaches are a common symptom of mild to moderate dehydration. In fact, many types of headaches, including migraines, can be triggered by simply not drinking enough water.
Here are five signs you are experiencing a dehydration headache:
Pain. A dehydration headache feels like a dull headache or an intense migraine. They're best identified by the way that movement seems to aggravate them, making the pain much worse. Unlike a sinus headache, a person experiencing a headache from dehydration will likely not experience facial pain or pressure. Pain from a dehydration headache usually occurs at the back, front, side, or all over the head.
Dark Urine. A simple and quick way to see if you're dehydrated, which could be the cause of your pulsating headache, is by checking the color of your urine. Normal urine should be pale yellow in color, almost like lemonade. However, if you notice your urine is a darker color, similar to apple juice, this could be a sign of moderate dehydration. Not urinating at all? Get yourself a big glass of water because chances are you are severely dehydrated.
Dry Skin. If you are experiencing a wicked headache and happen to notice that your skin is feeling dry, chances are you have a dehydration headache. Not sure how to tell if your skin is dry? Try this: Pinch your skin on the top of your hand and see what happens. If it 'tents' or moves back slowly, this is an indication that you're mildly to moderately dehydrated.
Rapid Heartbeat. If you are battling a headache and happen to notice your heart is beating rather rapidly, it could be due to dehydration. Why? Because your body needs water and electrolytes to keep it functioning properly. When you don't fuel your body with enough fluids and healthy minerals, it can affect your heart's ability to pump blood.
Fever. Usually, we associate a fever with having an illness like the flu or a sinus infection, but don't let this warning sign fool you. It's also a dangerous sign of severe dehydration. When your body doesn't have enough fluids, it's tough to maintain a regular body temperature. This can lead to fever-like symptoms, including the chills. If your headache is accompanied by these miserable symptoms, there's a good chance you are dehydrated.
How do you prevent a dehydration headache?
Did you know that losing as little as 1-2% of water in your body can cause mild dehydration leading to a dehydration headache?
As we mentioned, dehydration occurs when the body does not get enough water to meet its needs. With that in mind, preventing a dehydration headache is easy; all you need to do is stay hydrated!
In addition to drinking H2O, you can avoid a nasty dehydration headache by:
Eating regularly. You get more fluids from your food than you might think. Fruits and veggies are especially valuable when it comes to keeping your body well hydrated and headache-free.
Hydrating before and during exercise. Hydrating your body before going to the gym and throughout your workout is important. You can prevent damage to your muscles and tissues, improve your performance, and keep those painful headaches away by reaching for your water bottle reguraly throughout the day. Want to feel even better during your workout? Try adding Adapted Nutrition's Hi-Lyte Electrolyte Concentrate that is designed by nature to be potent, fast-acting, and completely absorbed by the body. It's made with natural sea minerals and can be added to any liquid to create a powerful, natural electrolyte drink to keep dehydration at bay.
Reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake. Ever notice that you get an incredibly wicked headache following a wild night of drinking? This is because - like caffeine - alcohol is a diuretic, which can lead to a higher risk of dehydration. If you want to prevent a nasty headache, simply your alcohol and caffeine intake to prevent becoming dehydrated.
A dehydration headache doesn't feel good. It's painful and can put a damper on your entire day. The good news is that these pesky nuisances can easily be avoided by keeping your body hydrated. Drink lots of H2O throughout the day and keep your electrolyte levels up with Adapted Nutritions Hi-Lyte Electrolyte Concentrate to keep that nasty dehydration headache at bay.