Migraine sufferers often know the triggers to their discomfort, be it sound, light, stress, or Bieber mania . Relief, however, may be harder to pinpoint. But could the secret to fewer migraines be as simple as getting enough H2O?
Full Bladder, Happy Head? — Why It Matters
In one study, researchers observed two groups of migraine-prone individuals, giving one group a placebo and upping the other group’s water intake by an average of four cups per day . Two weeks later, the water group reported lessened headache severity and 21 fewer hours of pain compared to the placebo group (arguably worth the extra bathroom breaks!). In another study, researchers found the majority of participants only needed to drink an average of 500 mL of water to relieve their migraines within 30 minutes .Whether it’s from running laps on the track, a long day at the beach, or last night’s fourth vodka tonic, dehydration can strike at any time— often with little warning. And it turns out people who suffer from migraines— those severe and often debilitating throbbing headaches— may be more sensitive to dehydration than others . Research suggests a link between staying hydrated and experiencing fewer migraine attacks  .
Sip on This — The Answer/Debate
But could it all just be in our heads? Maybe so: Another study found 37 percent of migraine-prone participants believed dehydration could prompt their attacks . While this hardly encompasses the whole head-pounding bunch, it was enough to have researchers consider dehydration a possible migraine trigger .
If more water is indeed the answer, how much exactly is enough? While many subscribe to the eight 8-ounce glasses per day rule, some find the idea of drinking 64 ounces of water a day absolutely unfounded, believing the body will signal when it needs water through thirst. Still, there is no scientific evidence to back up the gulping guidelines the school nurse always preached .
But whether it’s sipping to prevent a future migraine or to put an end to a current one, there is certainly no harm done by staying hydrated (just beware of overhydrating!).
Photo by Marissa Angell