femme assise sur un canapé, manifestant des signes de douleur ou d'inconfort, probablement une migraine. Elle a une main sur son front et tient des médicaments dans l'autre main.

Can a migraine be caused by a lack of hydration?

Hedonist Labs


Throbbing headaches, nausea, hypersensitivity: migraines do not forgive. However, could simple daily actions like proper hydration help prevent these painful episodes? As migraines affect millions of individuals, understanding the triggers and prevention methods becomes crucial.



Could drinking more water be an underrated remedy for migraines?



Migraine is a common neurological disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Characterized by throbbing headaches often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound, migraines can significantly impact the quality of life of those who suffer from them. Although the exact causes of migraines are not fully understood, many factors have been identified as potential triggers, including stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, odors, and environmental stimuli.

Among these triggers, the role of hydration has garnered considerable interest. The idea that dehydration can contribute to triggering or worsening migraines is widely believed, but whether it actually constitutes a trigger remains debated. In this context, it is important to carefully explore the potential link between dehydration and migraines, as well as the impact of hydration on the prevention and treatment of this common condition.





Migraine is a type of headache characterized by severe, throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. Common triggers include certain foods (like cheese, chocolate, or foods containing additives like monosodium glutamate), stress, hormonal changes, strong odors, weather changes, and intense visual or auditory stimuli. Typical symptoms include throbbing headaches, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and sound (phonophobia), as well as sometimes prodromes such as mood changes or visual disturbances.






Water is essential for the proper functioning of the human body. It makes up about 60% of adult body weight and is necessary for many vital physiological functions. Water plays a crucial role in transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells, eliminating metabolic waste, regulating body temperature, and maintaining electrolyte balance.

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in, which can happen due to excessive sweating, rapid breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, or insufficient fluid intake. Signs of dehydration include intense thirst, dry mouth, reduced urine output, dark urine, dry skin, dizziness, and confusion. Severe dehydration can lead to serious complications such as kidney disorders, seizures, and even coma.






Dehydration can potentially trigger migraines by disrupting several physiological mechanisms. First, reduced hydration can influence blood circulation, which can affect blood flow to the brain and cause changes in intracranial pressure, a known factor in triggering migraines in some individuals.

Additionally, dehydration can alter the normal functioning of the central nervous system, affecting pain sensitivity and the processes of regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin, both involved in migraine pathophysiology.

Furthermore, dehydration can exacerbate other migraine triggers. For example, dehydration combined with heat exposure or high-stress levels can increase the likelihood of triggering a migraine attack in sensitive individuals.

In summary, although the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, it is likely that dehydration exerts its effect on migraines through several pathways, including altered cerebral circulation, neurotransmitter changes, and the potentiation of other triggering factors.






Maintaining proper hydration can play a crucial role in preventing migraines. Here are some tips for keeping hydrated and preventing migraines:


  1. Drink enough water : Make sure to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, especially in hot weather or during intense physical activity. Water needs vary from person to person, but aiming to drink about 8 glasses of water a day is often recommended.
  2. Avoid dehydrating beverages : Limit your consumption of beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, or high amounts of sugar, as they can have a dehydrating effect.
  3. Monitor signs of dehydration : Be attentive to signs of dehydration, such as intense thirst, dry mouth, reduced urine output, and fatigue. If you notice these symptoms, drink water immediately and take steps to rehydrate.
  4. Prioritize water-rich foods : In addition to drinking water, consume water-rich foods like fruits (watermelon, melon, citrus fruits) and vegetables (cucumber, lettuce, celery) to increase your fluid intake.


In case of a migraine, rehydration can also help alleviate symptoms. If you experience a migraine attack, make sure to drink enough water and avoid beverages that could worsen your symptoms, such as sugary or caffeinated drinks. If the migraine persists despite rehydration, consult a healthcare professional to explore other treatment options.



Although the link between dehydration and migraines is still debated, it is important to recognize the importance of maintaining good hydration to prevent migraines. While some studies suggest a link between dehydration and migraine attacks, further research is needed to better understand this link and elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

It is recommended to maintain adequate hydration by drinking enough water throughout the day and avoiding dehydrating beverages. Additionally, it is essential to monitor signs of dehydration and act accordingly to maintain optimal fluid balance.

For future research, large-scale longitudinal studies are needed to thoroughly examine the link between hydration and migraines and identify potential confounding factors. Moreover, research on the underlying physiological mechanisms and the effectiveness of rehydration interventions in treating migraines could provide valuable insights for improving the management of this common condition. Until further advances are made, maintaining adequate hydration remains a simple yet important strategy for managing migraines.

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