Can Staying Hydrated Prevent Headaches?

Dehydration affects every cell in the body, including those of the brain and central nervous system. This can lead to various types of head and body aches which could easily be prevented if a person consumed the right amount of water for their size, weight and level of physical activity.

Our bodies lose water every time we breathe, urinate or sweat and it is lost at a much higher rate when we participate in any form of physical activity.

Dehydration Affects the Brain

Dehydration has a direct impact on the brain as brain cells require water to function, just like other cells in the body. Water is also needed to prevent tissues from drying out.

Water makes up almost 99% of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and lubricates the brain. When the body begins to lose water and it is not sufficiently replaced, the brain will begin to be affected. As the tissues start to dry out, it becomes harder for the blood to circulate through the area. This can cause headaches that will continue to intensify if the water is not sufficiently replenished.

Prevents the Build Up of Toxins

Toxins are everywhere. They are in the foods we eat, the air we breathe and some are even made by our own bodies. As our bodies function, byproducts are created as chemical reactions take place. Without proper hydration, the toxins remain in our bodies and will eventually collect in our tissues, joints and in the brain, as well.

Toxins that are allowed to accumulate in the brain can impair certain chemical reactions, leading to both chronic and acute headaches. While it is well known that the liver functions to filter out toxins and remove them from the body, it cannot do its job unless the toxins are first flushed through it by the bloodstream.

Water is necessary to keep the system running smoothly and act as a carrier, gently flushing toxins from tissues and through the system so they can be eliminated from the body.

Improves Circulation

Staying hydrated also helps to improve circulation. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygenated blood to function correctly. When the blood flow becomes sluggish, the amount of oxygen the brain receives also diminishes. As the tissues become starved for viable amounts of oxygen, headaches begin to appear.

Over time, if the level of oxygen does not increase, the headache will continue to worsen. Keeping the body hydrated improves circulation and also enhances the blood’s ability to help filter toxins and maintain healthy levels of oxygen throughout the body.

Temperature Control

Water is one of the main ways the body stays cool, through sweating and the circulation of blood throughout the body. The more water a person consumes, the less likely they are to suffer from heat stroke or exhaustion.

Water cools the surface of the skin through sweat. It cools the interior of the body by increasing blood flow through dilated blood vessels that lie close to the surface. This allows the blood to cool down as it continues to move through the body.

The brain does not function as well as it should when temperatures become too high. Because of its location inside the skull, the only way for the brain to keep cool at its core is through improved circulation.

Houston Headache Institute

Headaches that are caused by dehydration can be prevented. Increasing the amount of water you consume when you know you are going to be out in the heat or physically exerting yourself will help your body remain in balance and will keep headaches to a minimum.

Please contact the Houston Headache Institute if you have any questions about headaches. We have helped hundreds of patients and we are confident that we can help you, too!