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July 14, 2020 3 min read

Is it possible to get a headache from being dehydrated? The short answer is yes. However, In this article we will explore what a dehydration headache is, the symptoms and how you can help prevent them.


There are many different causes of headaches, but the most common is dehydration. Simply put, dehydration is the result of not consuming enough water. The human body is comprised of 60% water and furthermore, according to theH.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry the brain and heart are 73% water. When we deprive the brain of its most common substance, there is likely to be consequences. 


What is a dehydration headache?

A dehydration headache is a secondary headache, caused by not having enough fluid in the body. Dehydration headaches can be relatively mild or severe as amigraine.

The body requires the proper balance of fluid andelectrolytes to function properly, which can be found in theElectrolytes Balanced Hydration Drink MixEvery day, the body loses water through daily activities, such as sweating and urinating. For athletes who are burning upwards of 2000 calories a day  may be more susceptible to experiencing water or sodium loss. 

headache, dehydrated

During these times, the body can become dehydrated, which can lead to complications including unpleasant dehydration headaches.

When the body is dehydrated, the brain can temporarily contract or shrink from fluid loss. This mechanism causes the brain to pull away from the skull, causing pain and resulting in a dehydration headache. Once rehydrated, the brain plumps up and returns to its normal state, relieving the headache.

Dehydration headache symptoms

Dehydration headaches can feel different to different people, but they typically have symptoms similar to those of other common headaches. For many people, it may feel like a hangover headache, which is often described as a pulsating ache on both sides of the head that’s aggravated by physical activity.

Symptoms of migraine vary widely, but may include:

  • severe pain on one side of the head
  • nausea
  • a visual aura

Other symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • thirst
  • dry or sticky mouth
  • not urinating much
  • darker yellow urine
  • cool, dry skin
  • muscle cramps

Dehydration Causes

Causes can range from simple lack of drinking water, alcohol consumption and active expenditure. For Pinnacle Nutrition Group athletes, they may experience dehydration from physical activity, training or racing. When endurance athletes train for extended periods of time, their body faces excessive perspiration and sodium loss  (a key electrolyte), often causing a headache. 

water, hydration, dehydration

However, some common causes may be:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • extreme sweating, either from heavy exercise or heat
  • fever
  • excess urination

How to Prevent Dehydration


At times, its challenging to completely prevent dehydration, However you can prepare. Therecommended daily intake of watervaries from male to female, and often people say eight 8oz glasses of water a day can help as a common goal. According toThe National Academies of Sciences, Engineering about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

Other options are electrolytes supplement drink mixes such as ourElectrolyte Balanced Hydration Drink mix with 309mg of electrolytes. We recommend taking 1 serving per day and 2 servings if undergoing extreme activity. 


If you are experiencing extreme dehydration, please consult with your physician. 


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