Before you seek medical attention for your headaches, you should check to see if you’re dehydrated. A lot of people have chronic headaches, which can interfere with life in many ways. Chronic headaches can impact your quality of life and your ability to function.
But dehydration is a relatively simple cause of headaches to treat. Being dehydrated can cause a wide variety of physical symptoms that can affect your health. In this blog, Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults in Bellevue, Washington, explains more about the effects of dehydration, including how it can cause headaches.
What causes dehydration?
There are no exact figures about how many people in the U.S. experience dehydration, but most experts believe that it’s a common problem. Many people consume less liquid than they’re supposed to on a regular basis.
The amount of water that you need to consume daily varies based on each person, but generally, most experts recommend that you get at least 6-8 glasses of water each day. You get additional water from food, including from fruits and vegetables.
Symptoms of dehydration
If you are dehydrated, you may experience additional symptoms in addition to a headache. Some of the symptoms of dehydration may include the following:
- Dark urine
- A decreased need to urinate
- Dry mouth
- Confusion and dizziness
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy or fatigue
These symptoms may be increased if you drink a lot of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Other health conditions can increase your risk of dehydration, such as stomach illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea, or increased sweating.
Some medications can also cause dehydration, including diuretics for heart failure.
How dehydration causes headaches
Even mild dehydration can cause headaches. Our bodies are designed to have a certain amount of water to function properly. When we don’t have enough water, it changes the way our bodies function, which can result in headaches and other unpleasant, uncomfortable symptoms.
When you’re not drinking enough water, your brain tissue actually shrinks and begins to pull away from your skull, which results in the telltale headache. You need to drink plenty of water to keep your brain tissue nice and plump.
How to reverse dehydration
Reversing dehydration is often as simple as drinking more water. But it can also involve more than that.
You might need to get a refillable water bottle that has marks on it to guide how much you should drink in two hours. Many people find these bottles helpful in establishing a habit of drinking more water.
You can also eat lots of foods that are naturally high in water content. Foods that contain a lot of water include the following:
- Skim milk
Many of these foods also provide other nutrients that can help your body meet its needs. It’s always better to get nutrients from food instead of from oral vitamin supplements.
If your headaches don’t resolve after drinking more water, you may need to schedule a consultation. Whatever the cause of your headaches, you can get relief. Contact Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian at Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults today or request an appointment online.