View Full Version : Chronic migraines (chronic dehydration?)


Thales
05-29-13, 04:25 PM
Dear all,

Since the start of puberty I have been having headaches of increasing frequency and increasing intensity. The diagnosis was originally tension headaches and migraines, but it turns out to be all migraines. I have tried quite some things and some have worked for a while (switching to a school that fits my needs, skipping dairy) while others did not at all (physical therapy). I have been using beta blockers (propranolol) since the summer. I THOUGHT they were working okay, but especially since a few weeks they have not been at all.

Now I noticed some other correlation: the headaches increased when the weather got warmer. I had a week long headache until I drank sports drink. So I started drinking sports drinks, about half a litre each day. It SEEMS as though the frequency and intensity went down, although it could be temporary, as usually.
But it does not make sense. It is not even THAT hot. Apparently I cannot sweat three drops within almost dying from a headache? That sounds ridiculous. Although, I used to get migraines (even with aura, with I rarely have) after PE and such. On holidays in the tropics, I do drink a lot of sports drinks (after getting seriously dehydrated once, or twice actually, at ages 5 and 14). I do not think I normally drink too little.

Does anyone have something to share with me? Other symptoms I experience during the headaches are trembling, feeling weak and sensitivity to light/movement/touch (the worse the headache, the worse the symptoms) and apart from that I often have dilated pupils.

dvdnvwls
05-29-13, 05:11 PM
I expect that you DO normally drink too little.

Quit the sports drinks and use plain water instead. Totally eliminate coffee as well. Sugar in sports drinks can cause headaches; caffeine can cause headaches; coffee (every kind but especially espresso because it has hardly any water) can make dehydration worse.

It's easy to tell when you are getting enough water - you should need a lot of bathroom breaks throughout the day, and your urine should be very light in colour. If you don't "have to go" very often, or if your urine has a lot of colour to it, then you need more water.

If you quit coffee, and you drink a lot more water, and the headaches persist, then go back to the doctor and explain all this.

You can drink up to a litre of water per hour without any bad effects, so don't worry about limiting your water intake. If you find that you "have to go" every few minutes and it's ruining your day, drink a bit less water and you'll be fine.

Could you be having some kind of blood-sugar problem? (over-eating, under-eating, too much sugar, etc)?

Do you smoke?

Thales
05-29-13, 06:14 PM
I expect that you DO normally drink too little.

Quit the sports drinks and use plain water instead. Totally eliminate coffee as well. Sugar in sports drinks can cause headaches; caffeine can cause headaches; coffee (every kind but especially espresso because it has hardly any water) can make dehydration worse.

It's easy to tell when you are getting enough water - you should need a lot of bathroom breaks throughout the day, and your urine should be very light in colour. If you don't "have to go" very often, or if your urine has a lot of colour to it, then you need more water.

If you quit coffee, and you drink a lot more water, and the headaches persist, then go back to the doctor and explain all this.

You can drink up to a litre of water per hour without any bad effects, so don't worry about limiting your water intake. If you find that you "have to go" every few minutes and it's ruining your day, drink a bit less water and you'll be fine.

Could you be having some kind of blood-sugar problem? (over-eating, under-eating, too much sugar, etc)?

Do you smoke?Thanks for your reply!

Actually, the color of urine is not a cure it all. Even when I was seriously dehydrated, I had drunk litres of water and my urine was clear. It is just not absorbed if you lack the isotones and you pee it all out right away. Plain water somehow never did the trick for me.

I don't smoke. Don't drink coffee either, although I occasionally drink a coke and my painkillers contain caffeine (seems to be working better than the ones without). I am eating rather irregular, some times too much and then too little. That definitely is a learning point for me. When on a holiday, having very little headaches, I eat three decent meals a day. At home, I do not. I always have two meals and little bits of food during the day. Do you have any suggestions? During working days I am already hungry at 10 am, after having a decent breakfast at 7.30.

I am not very keen on returning to my doc (neurologist). His next option was to try tricyclic antidepressants to treat the tension headaches (which I most likely don't have) and I have yet to meet a person that benefited from them. But if it is really necessary, I'll go, in the end.

dvdnvwls
05-29-13, 06:33 PM
If "plain water somehow never did the trick", then something was seriously wrong. Plain water always does the trick, unless there is a separate serious problem. The idea that water is not good enough for hydration is a pretty shaky one - how could people ever have survived before 1965 when Gatorade was invented? (If you are sick from electrolyte imbalance, you should be in the hospital, not chugging a so-called sports drink.)

What you eat is important, not just how much. A breakfast of sugary cereal and juice will make you feel good for a few minutes, and then you'll get hungry very quickly.

sarahsweets
05-30-13, 04:44 AM
One thing that I notice is my sensitivity to temperature change, for me this occurs in the winter. Going from a warm house to the cold outdoors triggered nasty headaches. My doctor told me this could be because of my blood vessels dilating from the warmth and then quickly contracting from the cold. I was never diagnosed with migraines though.

Raye
05-30-13, 06:22 AM
You aren't alone.

I've had bad headaches my entire life, but recently (about 2 months ago ) diagnosed with chronic migraines.

Although I don't like them or drink them my self, i agree with the others about quitting the sports drinks. I drink about 3-4 20oz bottles of water daily, with maybe about 6-8 oz of pepsi a day.

Have you been to a neurologist? There are lots of meds out there for migraines.

Fraser_0762
05-30-13, 07:12 AM
Energy drinks aren't great for hydration. Anything that contains high levels of caffeine will cause dehydration.

An energy drink may take your dehydration away for a short period of time, but the caffeine will cause you to sweat more and urinate more frequently, causing you to lose hydration very quickly.

My advice would be to give up energy drinks and any other caffeine containing beverages and just stick to plain simple water.

It's not just about how much liquids you consume, but how long the liquid stays in the body. Giving up caffeine should allow your body to retain water for a longer period of time.

Caffeine = Dehydration = Migraines.

Give up the caffeine and your migraines will go away within a few days. (As long as you keep hydrated with water only!)

Thales
05-30-13, 07:21 AM
If "plain water somehow never did the trick", then something was seriously wrong. Plain water always does the trick, unless there is a separate serious problem. The idea that water is not good enough for hydration is a pretty shaky one - how could people ever have survived before 1965 when Gatorade was invented? (If you are sick from electrolyte imbalance, you should be in the hospital, not chugging a so-called sports drink.)

What you eat is important, not just how much. A breakfast of sugary cereal and juice will make you feel good for a few minutes, and then you'll get hungry very quickly.Well, up to a certain point water would surely prevent headaches, but I regularly have one after having drunk plenty. That would not go away by drinking more water. Drinking isotonic liquids does. On top of that, isotonics are often the first 'prescription' in the tropics when someone is feeling ill, since that is (part of) the cause in 90% of cases especially in tourists. That's how I got the idea anyway. But I agree with you that it is not likely - at all - that I would need to drink sports drink without having significant exercise. Perhaps it's not even the isotones or fluids, perhaps it's the sugar that makes me feel better on the short notice?
I should surely try something with nutrition. I do think that my diet lacks protein and I do not get any omega3's at all. I have tried supplementing and changing my diet in the past, but I'll make sure to give it another try.

@ sarahsweets: That sensitivity I have noticed as well. I hate those stores where the heating is on turned so high in winter and the airconditioning in summer. Public transport is also great, with regard to insane temperature differences.

@ Raye: I have visited a neurologist (and got several tests, because the pattern is not very typical). I am taking beta blockers at the moment. I thought they had been working well, but the last months it has been crazy again.

Thales
05-30-13, 07:28 AM
Energy drinks aren't great for hydration. Anything that contains high levels of caffeine will cause dehydration.

An energy drink may take your dehydration away for a short period of time, but the caffeine will cause you to sweat more and urinate more frequently, causing you to lose hydration very quickly.

My advice would be to give up energy drinks and any other caffeine containing beverages and just stick to plain simple water.

It's not just about how much liquids you consume, but how long the liquid stays in the body. Giving up caffeine should allow your body to retain water for a longer period of time.

Caffeine = Dehydration = Migraines.

Give up the caffeine and your migraines will go away within a few days. (As long as you keep hydrated with water only!)energy drink \= sports drink

Thanks for the effort, but as you can read here I rarely touch caffeine containing beverages. It is, by the way, the second thing (after you pain killer intake) they ask at the neurologist: how much cokes, teas, coffee, energy drinks etc. you consume. Sorry, but I am sick and tired of anyone suggesting that the migraines will go away 'within a few days', because you just don't have a clue apart from what I describe here (and apparently even reading that is too much). I greatly appreciate any constructive suggestions, but this is not one of them.

Lunacie
05-30-13, 10:34 AM
Has anyone suggested that you keep a migraine diary? It can be helpful in
figuring out what is triggering your migraines. Mine are mostly triggered by
weather changes so there isn't much I can do to prevent them. For years I
was dx as having tension and sinus headaches rather than migraines.

Like you, I take excedrin as soon as I realize I'm getting one. Propanolol
does help some people. I was allergic to something in that medicine which
was prescribed to treat my hypertension. Because of the hypertension I
can't take the Ergotamine that worked really well for me, and I don't have
insurance to take anything else.

I recommend the book The Keeler Migraine Method. I learned a lot from
reading it, and it includes information on keeping a migraine diary and
what you can learn from doing that.

Thales
05-30-13, 10:48 AM
@ Lunacie: I have kept a dairy multiple times/months over the past years. The only thing that we noticed was the milk (products) that made me sick, but that has not eliminated the migraines.
I will look into that book. Thank you.

Lunacie
05-30-13, 11:03 AM
@ Lunacie: I have kept a dairy multiple times/months over the past years. The only thing that we noticed was the milk (products) that made me sick, but that has not eliminated the migraines.
I will look into that book. Thank you.

Sorry keeping a diary didn't help you more. I've never bothered to keep one
because I've always recognized the connection between weather changes
and my migraines. Stress also can trigger them, but again, how much can
we do to prevent stress in our lives? Especially when one is helping to
raise a couple of grandchildren - teen with ADHD, 11 year old with Autism.

When I was having chronic daily migraines a few years ago, I finally went
to a Chinese clinic and had some accupuncture. It took several treatments
but eventually I went back to only having migraines in response to weather
changes or stress - not on a daily basis.

dvdnvwls
05-30-13, 04:10 PM
I don't say water will cure headaches.

I do say water will always cure dehydration except if you are very very debilitatingly sick, and I stand by that.