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Dehydration Causes Headaches In Women

Women Drinking after Exercise Session, New York, New York
Women Drinking...
Paul Sutton
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Dehydration may lead healthy women to develop headaches, new research suggests. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the discovery of a relationship between water and women's moods serves as a reminder that water is essential to healthy functioning of the human body.

In a small study involving twenty-five young women (mean age 23 years), scientists examined the effects that mild dehydration would have on cognitive function. The volunteers were placed in three 8 hour long placebo controlled experiments that were used to test different states of hydration including:

  • exercised induced dehydration without diuretic (i.e. without assisted water excretion) or DN group
  • exercise induced dehydration with furosemide diuretic or DD group
  • euhydration (normal state water content) or EU group

Throughout the experiment, investigators assessed the volunteers' mood, cognitive abilities and symptoms of dehydration which were conducted during three rest intervals and three exercise sessions.

Dehydration was very problematic for the participants, causing them to experience headaches,  impaired concentration, and difficulty performing tasks. This finding led researchers to conclude that women should keep themselves during and after exercise.

The findings of the current study support previous research on the subject. In a similar experiment with exercise and dehydration, research involving ten healthy adolescents (five males and five females) showed that dehydration forces the brain to work harder in order to engage in planning and visuo-spatial processing.

What these experiments really show is that it's dangerous to exercise without keeping yourself hydrated. When you exercise, you excrete water through breathing and sweat.

The brain is like any other organ in that it needs water to survive. If your brain doesn't get enough of this valuable nutrient, your ability to make complex decisions is going to suffer.

Stay hydrated and stay healthy.


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 Article Sources

Armstrong, L., Ganio, M., Casa, D., Lee, E., McDermott, B., Klau, J., Jimenez, L., Le Bellego, L., Chevillotte, E., & Lieberman, H. (2011). Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women Journal of Nutrition, 142 (2), 382-388 DOI: 10.3945/jn.111.142000

Kempton, M., Ettinger, U., Foster, R., Williams, S., Calvert, G., Hampshire, A., Zelaya, F., O'Gorman, R., McMorris, T., Owen, A., & Smith, M. (2011). Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents Human Brain Mapping, 32 (1), 71-79 DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20999


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