How to Stay Hydrated During a Migraine
Last updated: May 2022
Aside from the physical pain, dehydration is always my worst enemy during a migraine.
It makes the head pain worse. It creates joint pain. It weakens me. It makes an already dreadful experience even worse. This is why, over the years, I’ve done everything that I can to discover ways to stay better hydrated during a migraine.
These are some of the strategies that have been most helpful for me. (I’d love to know what has worked for you too. Please share in the comments below!)
My husband's mantra
“No need to get ready when you stay ready.” This is a phrase my husband is constantly using in life, and it definitely applies in the context of managing hydration during a migraine.
Staying hydrated before a migraine attack
I do my best to stay well hydrated on my migraine-free days so that if and when a migraine strikes, I’m not going into it with a deficit. It makes a big difference because I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the mood to drink much of anything once I have a migraine. I just want to sleep until the migraine goes away. So, I try to “stay ready” by staying properly hydrated on your migraine-free days.
Staying properly hydrated for YOU
What does it mean to be “properly hydrated?”
The reality is it’s hard to have one general recommendation for everyone’s water intake. We all have bio-individual needs, and even within that, our daily activity level may vary. All of this influences just how much water your body will need in a day.
Originally, we were told to drink eight eight-ounce glasses a day. However, this doesn’t factor in your unique needs. I like to go with the school of thought that we should aim for half our body weight in ounces of water per day. It is much more individualized and more realistic. Of course, if where you’re currently at feels overwhelming, simply start where you are – perhaps with one glass of water a day and increase from there.
Once we start consuming the appropriate volume of water, we want to ensure that it’s making its way inside our cells where it’s most useful and not just running right through us. This is why it can be helpful to add a little citrus or even a dash of salt to your water. It helps balance your electrolytes and enables your cells to use the water for the body’s many functions and needs.
Personally, I like a little squeeze of lemon in my water, especially when I first wake up.
Although the electrolyte drinks at the store can be appealing, you want to be mindful of the ingredients, or more specifically, the sugar content. They can contain so much sugar that it doesn’t outweigh the potential benefits you would get from the boost of electrolytes. (Not to mention, they can be expensive, which adds up quickly.)
So, let’s cheers together now with our water bottles to staying hydrated on a daily basis. That in and of itself may reduce your risk of a migraine, but if and when you do get one, it helps you stay ahead of potential dehydration.
Is dehydration something that you struggle with when you get migraines? Share your experience below so we can learn from you too!
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?