Know Your Pain

Dehydration Headaches: Replenish Yourself with Water

Three out of four Americans don't drink enough water, and it is a major cause of headaches. The human body consists of 65% water. When the body loses water and not enough is replenished, it causes headaches. Dehydration, the process of loss of water from the body, also removes essential electrolytes that are needed for maintaining normal pH levels. That is why sports drinks are so widely used for replenishing the body.

Dehydration can trigger migraines; hence it is advisable to take precautions against it. It does not necessarily happen only in warmer climates and thirst is not the only reason you need to drink plenty of water. Most of us just don't like the taste of water and tend to drink other liquids that do nothing but further accentuate thirst. This needs to change.

How much water should we drink?

On an average, both adults as well as children need to drink 64 to 80 ounces of water a day - that is about 8 to 10 glasses a day. Those who perspire more or urinate often need to drink more. Factors that increase dehydration are:

* Warmer climates
* High altitudes
* High level of physical activity
* Diabetes or kidney disease
* Heavy drinking
* Certain medications

The symptoms of dehydration are:

* Thirstiness
* Fatigue
* Headache
* Weakness
* Dizziness
* Increased heart rate
* Dry skin
* Cramps
* Dark urine

Headache caused by dehydration can be lessened using some simple techniques:

* Drink enough water. It is the quickest and safest way to ease symptoms of dehydration. If you cannot drink much at a go, sip it from time to time.
* Take sports drinks to re-hydrate. These provide essential electrolytes in addition to water.
* Take a couple of pain relieving pills if it is too much to bear. Drink a glassful of water.
* Look out of symptoms of dehydration and take preventive measures as soon as they appear.
* Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as they cause dehydration.

Extreme dehydration needs immediate medical attention. Intravenous fluids and hospital treatment may be required.

Dehydration headaches in children:

Dehydration causes headaches not just in adults but children as well. In fact, infants and toddlers face bigger risks of dehydration headaches than adults. In some cases dehydration could lead to fatal consequences. Apart from headaches and extreme thirst, dehydration can cause constipation, kidney stones and infections in the urinary tract of children. Kids should be taught at a younger age to drink plenty of water, even if they are not thirsty. The habit will augur well for their adulthood.