What happens to our bodies when they are dehydrated?
Water makes up over two-thirds of a healthy human body and plays a crucial role in many functions, including carrying nutrients and waste products between major organs, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, aiding digestion and keeping the skin healthy. Every cell in the body depends on water so it is important to make sure you are hydrated.
The first symptoms of dehydration are usually thirst and dry mouth. However, other symptoms may develop too, such as headache, fatigue, weakness, parched lips, confusion, hallucinations and rapid heartbeat.
Drinks that can cause dehydration
Water is regarded as the best drink to ensure good hydration.
Having large amounts of coffee and and other caffeinated drinks has been linked as a trigger for headaches via dehydration. If you are a regular coffee or tea drinker, consider cutting down on your caffeine consumption slowly as caffeine withdrawal can also cause headaches.
Alcohol can be another cause of headache. If you decide to drink do so in moderation and drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body.
Preventing dehydration; how much water do we need?
Australian dietary guidelines recommend that we drink plenty of water each day. The amount is determined by your gender, age, how active you are and whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding and the conditions you live in.
Anything that increases perspiration, such as warm weather, physical activity and high altitude, will increase your fluid needs and you may require more than the amount usually recommended.
Keep in mind that consuming more fruit and vegetables is a way to increase your fluid intake – but it is not an alternative to drinking water.
You can help prevent headaches triggered or caused by insufficient water intake by keeping yourself rehydrated. To help relieve a headache once it strikes, you can try pain relieving medication. A product such as Nurofen can help to relieve headache pain for up to 8 hours.*
On balance, headache prevention is surely preferable to suffering a headache! So keeping well hydrated could be one simple way to suffer less of them.