How to Treat Dehydration Headaches?

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


A headache is one of the most common types of pain people will experience in their life. It can be caused by a number of different factors, including food, medication, dehydration, and stress.

There are many different types of headaches that people can suffer from, but the most common type is a dehydration headache.

This type of headache usually occurs when you have not had enough water to drink for several hours, and it is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and fever.

What is dehydration?

When the body loses more water it is called dehydration. It can occur when people do not drink enough fluids, sweat too much, or have a fever. Dehydration can be very dangerous and cause serious health problems.

Dehydration is the loss of body fluids, which can be caused by a number of factors. About 60% of the average person’s total body weight is water, and the majority of that water is found in the cells and tissues as intracellular fluid. The remaining 30% is the extracellular fluid found outside cells and tissues in the blood, lymphatic vessels, joint spaces, and other areas.

The average person needs about eight cups (64 oz) or two liters of water per day to maintain proper hydration levels. A person who is dehydrated will experience frequent thirst and there may be a possible loss of body weight.

According to their clinical features, dehydration can be divided into three types.

  • Mild dehydration: loss of 5% of body weight.
  • Moderate dehydration results in a loss of 6-10% of body weight.
  • Severe dehydration is defined as a loss of more than 10% of body weight.

What exactly is a dehydration headache?

It is the most common type of headache and is often experienced after heavy sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. A dehydration headache is merely a complication of dehydration.

Symptoms include throbbing pain in the head and temples with nausea, light sensitivity, and intense dry mouth.

The pain usually goes away with one drink of enough fluids.

The other symptoms of dehydration headaches may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

Dehydration Headache: Causes

Headaches are common symptoms of dehydration. They usually happen when the body is not getting enough fluids. The causes of dehydration headaches are easy to understand and often overlooked by people.

They can occur for simple reasons such as forgetting to drink enough water on a hot day, working out, or during stressful periods.

Our brain has cerebral spinal fluid on top of it (CSF). As the dehydration process continues, the amount of CSF that is present will be lessened. Higher blood solute levels during dehydration will cause the brain to constrict by pulling water out of the cells.

 There may be additional strain on the nerves when the brain shrinks, which could result in headaches from dehydration.

 For the following reasons, dehydration can occur:

  • Fever: Increased body heat following an infection might cause dehydration as there is a loss of body fluids due to vapourization.
  • Diarrhea-Frequent bowel openings more than 5 times per day may cause dehydration unless the fluid is replenished.
  • Excessive sweating: Sweating can occur due to increased environmental heat or due to certain medical conditions like hyperthyroidism. These too, in turn, can increase sweating in the body.
  • Excessive urination-Passing urine more than 6 times per day may occur in certain diseases like diabetes insipidus and will cause chronic dehydration.
  • Vomiting: This results in a loss of electrolytes and fluids. Vomiting is a common symptom of infections and other metabolic disorders.

Most people who have dehydration headaches will feel better after drinking water.

Dehydration headache: risk factors

Dehydration can happen to anyone, but some people are more at risk than others.

People who are ill, children, elderly or pregnant may be at a higher risk of dehydration because they have less water content in their bodies to begin with.

People who have chronic illnesses such as diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus are at risk of developing dehydration. They have imbalanced electrolytes and hormone reserves in the body.

Climate Changes: People who live in extreme climates, like in desert areas or cold areas, do not have abundant water reserves to use. Thus, they are at risk of developing dehydration.

Certain medications, like excess diuretic use and laxative use, may cause excess urination and bowel movements, which will lead to dehydration.

Symptoms of Dehydration: Headache

The most common symptoms of dehydration include feeling thirsty and having a dry mouth. A person may also experience headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

If you think that you might be dehydrated or if any of these symptoms persist for an extended period of time, it is important that you consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry scaly skin , loss of elasticity of the skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Cracked kips
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low pulse rate
  • Prolonged capillary refilling time
  • Dark urine

A dehydration headache can cause pain in the front, back, sides, or all over the head. Until you hydrate your body and drink enough water, it’s unlikely that you will experience any pain relief.

Most of us have experienced a dehydration headache at some point in our lives. The pain can be debilitating and can last for hours if it is not addressed immediately.

Dehydration headaches are most common during hot weather when we are not drinking enough water to compensate for sweat loss and high temperatures.

Treating Dehydration Headache

Dehydration headaches are becoming a more common cause of headaches due to a lack of drinking enough water per day. In order to get rid of a headache, it is important to rehydrate and relieve the pain.

The most important thing you can do is drink enough water throughout the day so that you don’t get dehydrated in the first place.

There are several ways to alleviate the pain that comes with a headache. One way is to take an over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.

Another option is to apply ice packs to your head and neck or drink chilled water to cool down your body temperature.

Tips to Prevent Dehydration Headaches!

  • It is best to purposefully choose how much water to consume based on climate variations. Excessive sweating and dark urine are signs that you are not drinking enough fluids.
  • The simple act of remembering to drink enough water can allow you to avoid dehydration headaches.
  • The online calculators might help to calculate the amount of fluid you need to drink based on environmental temperature and body weight.
  • The daily water requirement is approximately 4-6 liters. When the weather gets hot, you can drink an additional two liters of water or other liquids to avoid dehydration.
  • The best way to rehydrate is by drinking water or other fluids. It is also important to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar because they can worsen the dehydration headache symptoms.
  • The rehydration solution that can be bought over the counter is the most effective drink for diarrhea patients to avoid dehydration.
  • Rest in a chilled environment is another option to alleviate dehydration.

Dehydration: how to overcome it?

A person needs to drink about 8 cups of water per day in order to stay hydrated. This can be difficult for people who are busy with work and family responsibilities, but it is important to remember the benefits of staying hydrated.

If you are feeling thirsty and find yourself reaching for a glass of water, you might be experiencing a dehydration headache.

  • Dehydration headaches can also be caused by migraines, sinus infections, or even the flu.
  • The simple act of remembering to drink enough water can allow you to avoid these headaches altogether.

What is the duration of a dehydration headache?

A dehydration headache is the best headache that will relieve following drinking water within half to two hours. The suffering period is usually less compared to other headaches.

Dehydration headaches are one of the most common types of headaches, and they can be very debilitating. Dehydration headaches are caused by a lack of fluids in the body, and they usually last until you drink enough water to replace what you have lost.

The symptoms of dehydration are headaches and a dry mouth or throat.

A headache can be the result of dehydration, but it is not always the case. If you drink plenty of water, it should make you feel better within about half an hour, although for some people it may take as long as three hours.

Drinking plenty of water before a big event, sports, or visiting hot spots can help you stay hydrated and avoid headaches.

When to Consult a Physician?

Dehydration is a common problem with many causes. It can be caused by not drinking enough fluids, vomiting, diarrhea, certain medications, or excessive sweating.

Dehydration is a serious health condition that can lead to more serious problems if it is not treated as soon as possible.

The key sign of dehydration is thirst. If you are thirsty and do not drink water or other fluids for several hours, you are likely dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your fluid intake and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to avoid becoming dehydrated.

If you feel dizzy and unarousable sleepiness, it is crucial that you see a doctor immediately to get an intravenous sedative.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms.


TeleHealthDoc 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.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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