Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Not drinking enough water can cause many problems in our body, one of them being a dehydration headache. Dehydration occurs when your body does not have sufficient water to function properly. A dehydration headache can be a botheration and without getting rehydrated again, you will not be able to get rid of a dehydration headache.

We all know that there are many different types of headaches and everyone has experienced some form of headache during their lifetime. While some headaches can last for several days, how long do you think a dehydration headache lasts for?

What is a Dehydration Headache?

A dehydration headache occurs when your body is dehydrated. Why does it happen? Well, there are many circumstances in our life when we may either just forget to drink sufficient water or we are suffering from a condition such as vomiting, food poisoning, diarrhea, etc., which causes water loss. We also lose water through sweating and urinating on a daily basis. Under any such circumstances, when the body becomes dehydrated, the brain will temporarily start to shrink and pull away from the skull. This leads to pain and dehydration headache can set in.

It is not a worrisome headache though, as once you rehydrate yourself, the brain goes back to its original size and shape again, relieving the pressure and reduces the headache. However, it is the annoying pain that makes it bothersome and makes you find remedies to get rid of it.

Having too little water left in the body can prove to be a dangerous situation as our body relies on water for many critical bodily functions. Hence, dehydration headache is, in a way, a signal or a protective mechanism to tell you that your body needs water.

How Long Does a Dehydration Headache Last?

Many people worry about how long does a dehydration headache last. A dehydration headache can last for as long as you do not consume sufficient water to rehydrate your body once again. After drinking water or any fluids, a dehydration headache can either disappear within just 30 minutes, or it can even last for up to 3 hours. Generally, though, a dehydration headache lasts for an hour or two after you have had water.

For some people, dehydration headache can actually trigger migraine and make the situation worse. In such cases, in addition to drinking water for rehydration, you also need to avoid triggers and factors that worsen you headache. If you want to get quick relief, then you can try taking an over-the-counter painkillers or follow medical advice.

What are the Remedies To Get Rid of a Dehydration Headache?

While medicines can help in extreme or unbearable cases, for most mild cases, home remedies can help. Here are some of the remedies to get rid of a dehydration headache.

  1. Immediately Drink Water

    It goes without saying that whenever you feel a headache settling in, try having a glass of water. This is the one of the best remedies to get rid of a dehydration headache. When you experience a headache, in the starting it becomes difficult to determine whether it is a dehydration headache or something else. To be on the safe side, though, it is always better to drink a glass of water so that if it is a dehydration headache, your body will become rehydrated and the headache will disappear within some time.

    There is no need to overhydrate yourself either. One or two glasses of water should help get rid of a dehydration headache in most cases. Also, remember not to consume the water too quickly. Gulping down water too quickly may make some dehydrated people vomit. So take slow and steady sips of water. You can even suck on some ice cubes to get relief.

  2. Opt for Electrolyte Drinks

    While plain water is sufficient for stopping a dehydration headache, you can get an extra boost by having electrolyte drinks or sports drinks. Electrolytes are the essential minerals your body requires in order to function properly. While you get them naturally through the foods you eat and through various beverages, during dehydration, the crucial balance of electrolytes in the body becomes disrupted. Replenishing them with an electrolyte drink helps you feel better quicker and also helps get rid of a dehydration headache faster. This is one of the most preferred remedies to get rid of a dehydration headache.

    If you are health conscious and wish to avoid readymade sports drinks, you can opt for homemade oral rehydration solutions with some salt and lemon juice. You can also choose to have fresh fruit juices or fruit infusion drinks to replenish your lost salt and water naturally.

  3. Medicines

    Chewing on some ginger, inhaling peppermint essential oils or having a bath too can help in offering some relief in headache along with drinking water. In addition to the home remedies to get rid of dehydration headache, certain medications can also help.

    If you do not get any relief from drinking water, you can try to take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. However, make sure that you do not take over-the-counter migraine headache medications as these contain caffeine, which will further worsen your dehydration. Seek medical opinion if you are in doubt, or if it bothers you regularly. It is always recommended that you consult your doctor before taking any new medications, even if they are OTC drugs. Always take medications with a glass of water or with some food in order to avoid any side effects.

Conclusion

A dehydration headache can strike anyone, anywhere. There are many side effects of dehydration and to avoid them it is recommended that you remain well hydrated, particularly if you are indulging in some strenuous exercises or on a hot day. Drinking water is the main action along with some of the effective remedies to get rid of a dehydration headache. If you do not find your headache subsiding even after 3 hours, you may consult your doctor or opt for taking a pain reliever.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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