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Can drinking too much water CAUSE headaches?


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I posted this topic in another forum, but due to lack of response, I am re-posting it here. 

I am drinking anywhere between 144 and 240 ounces of water a day.  I don't think that is really a lot, and I do sweat at the gym, but since I started drinking this much water, I have been getting headaches a lot.  I am prone to them and I have bad allergies, but no one else seems to be suffering from allergies right now and here I am with a headache almost every day.  Is it possible that it is from drinking too much water?

Besides the headaches, I like that I am "regular" for the first time in my life, but the headaches have to stop.  So what's the deal?

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Did you recently cut out caffiene? I know I get headaches since switching from 7 diet sodas a day to 100-120oz of water a day... I have never heard of a headache caused just from drinking water though..? 

I didn't really cut out caffeine on purpose, it has just been so hot that it didn't occur to me to drink it.. but that happened about a month and a half ago! 

I don't know how much water is TOO much water, but I read this article the other day about water intoxication and headaches were a symptom.

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/water-intoxica tion-symptoms.html

i don't know the quantity of water that is considered 'too much' already. i haven't had any problems with headaches caused by drinking too much water. i do get a 'brain freeze' when the water is icy cold. i guess everybody has experienced that already.

I'm not an expert, but I did read an article a while back that suggested too much water can make your brain swell. Obviously quite dangerous, but I think you have to drink gallons for that to happen.

However, the headaches could be a sign you're drinking too much in one go?  I know that when I first started trying to up my water-intake I'd forget and down loads at the end of a day! Sip water slowly and regularly. If you still have headaches after a few days, maybe go consult with your Doctor?

 

I know this may sound wierd, but maybe your electrolytes are off-balance.  Lots of sweating removes them from your body, but water alone doesn't replenish them.  I was once counceled to drink a bit of pop or juice (which I don't really like to do) and see if that helps.

I've always been a big water drinker, at least 3-4 litres a day, I also had an enormous salt habit which I am thinking partly contributed to my need for water although it wasn't a conscious need, I just only drank it. When I changed my diet I upped the water and it makes me feel much better.

I am on the higher scale of water drinking now, as I drink it consistently, never being a coffee/tea/soft drink person I drank the required amount but now I drink between 3-probably up to 8 litres a day depending on the day - sometimes more. From a lot of posts on here I know a lot of people struggle with the water drinking through not enjoying it or the (unfortunate) effect of having to frequently go to the loo. However in all my water drinking its never caused a headache, if you drink other drinks which you have cut out (sugary or caffeine related) its most likely the lack of those causing the headache, or not listening to your body when you need to go to the loo.

To sum up lol I don't think its the water, its not generally something which causes headaches, it just could be combined with any other change you have made recently? Good luck, I hope you either figure it out or it goes away!

You're drinking between one and two gallons of water a day.  Only my opinion, but unless you're working in 100 degree heat every day, that seems like a lot.  Too much water can cause headaches if your sodium intake isn't balanced with your fluid output.  Basically, the water flushes too much sodium out of your body (hyponaetremia).  Been there, done that, and had a nasty headache until my sodium was normal (involving 36 hrs on an IV).  

Granted, it's not likely, but it is possible to get headaches from too much water. 

Could also possibly be totally un-water related.  Are you on any kind of birth control?  A side effect for a lot of them are constant headaches.  I'm suffering through that right now.  Trying to work with my doctor to find a brand/formulation that will work for me....

It could be a ton of things, but the water intoxication happens when someone goes from severly dehydrated to a rapid intake of water.  Not drinking a lot of water throughout the day.  Like running a marathon in 100 degree weather and then chugging 2 gallons. 

Has your diet changed?  Could you have low blood sugar?  I know a lot of people with allergy headaches right now, maybe it is regional..  I do agree throwing some electrolyte water in there is not a bad idea.  also eating potassium rich foods.

Also tight traps/neck/shoulder area can cause tension headaches.

Original Post by tortoisewins:

It could be a ton of things, but the water intoxication happens when someone goes from severly dehydrated to a rapid intake of water.  Not drinking a lot of water throughout the day.  Like running a marathon in 100 degree weather and then chugging 2 gallons. 

Has your diet changed?  Could you have low blood sugar?  I know a lot of people with allergy headaches right now, maybe it is regional..  I do agree throwing some electrolyte water in there is not a bad idea.  also eating potassium rich foods.

Umm THIS!  A few weeks ago (maybe 3ish?) I could literally go all day long without anything to drink.. Not on purpose, but there you go.  I would get home from the gym even with my full bottle of water and then really not drink too much at night.  Then a few weeks ago I don't know, I started drinking more.  It seems now, the more I drink the more thirsty I am.  So now I am up to almost 2 gallons a day.  I guess I will have to drink something with salt in it.. Maybe cut juice with water or something.. Thanks!

I ran into the headaches problem back in March but it was more because I cut out caffeine from my diet for about a week. Having been a avid coffee drinker for more then a decade and a sudden stop caused me horrible headaches. So I'm back on my couple cups of java in the mourning and everything is back to normal.


Steve

Original Post by vanessa122:

i don't know the quantity of water that is considered 'too much' already. i haven't had any problems with headaches caused by drinking too much water. i do get a 'brain freeze' when the water is icy cold. i guess everybody has experienced that already.

 yeah, i get that too. :D

I just had a lot of trouble with drinking too much water.  I was drinking 2 to 2 1/2 gallons per day.  I ended up with water toxicity also called hyponatremia.  I ended up hospitalized and had a low sodium blood level.  That was due to the water flushing out the sodium from my system.  I had a severe headache for several days before going to the hospital and being admitted.  They recommended no more than 2 quarts of water per day. I would talk with my doctor and find out what they say and follow their instructions.

Thanks Sand!  I actually decreased my water and had a few salty meals and I feel much better.  (I also gained a pound) but the headache is gone. 

Rather than only intake water after working out, I also try to drink Gatorade (you can also use the G2 with less calories or propel) to replenish electrolytes.

My brother was once hospitalized for drinking too much water. Like bahia mentioned, he had flushed out his electrolytes. If you don't like the sugary drinks like Gatorade (I belong in that category), Glaceau Smart Water also has electrolytes and just tastes like, well, water.

I think you are drinking to much water. My daughter was doing the same thing - drinking an insane amount of water and she started having the same things happen - major headaches, flu like symtoms just not feeling good. She worked out like a fool and would sweat a lot but the headaches continued.

She went to the doctor and they told her she was poisoningherself with water. Drinking to much is very dangerous. They told her never drink more then about 64 oz of water in a day. She had major withdrawals (DT's) because she was so use to drinking so much water, but she has finally got down to drinking a healthy amount and is feeling good again.

You can literally drink yourself to death with water. A friend of mine that lives in Missouri said a woman that goes to her gym actually did this drank so much water that she passed out one day in the gym and died later in the day. the autopsy showed she drank herself to death with water.

So back off the water drink no more than 64 oz and see if it makes a difference.

 

 

I have never heard of this either; I have heard of exercise induced headaches, though, and I get those and one cause of those is not drinking enough water DURING your workouts and then replenshing your body right after a work out with something potassium rich (like bananas). I have found that if I make sure to take big drinks of my water during my workout, and eat a banana either right before or right after my workout that I don't get these headaches. Also, if I do start feeling one of these headaches coming on hours after my workout, popping a couple of Tylenol always does the trick for me. And do Tylenol, not Advil (ibuprophin). Tylenol is much better for you health wise that ibuprophin is and its much gentler on your body as well. Hope some of these ideas from me (and everyone else) helps. Good luck.

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