Headaches are the worst. Some headaches can take over the whole side of your face and others throb in one area only. Some stay forever, while others quickly come and go. Either way, the pain can be excruciating. Some headaches are easier to identify, like a migraine, while others seem to come out of nowhere. There are many reasons why you may have a headache, some more serious than others.
If you are having headaches, especially in warm weather, your body may need you to consume more water. Dehydration is associated with headaches because the pain-sensitive nerves in your head activate when the body needs water. Also, your blood vessels can narrow when your fluid levels lower. This can limit proper blood flow to the brain, leaving you with a headache.
I know that we all love our booze, but alcohol can leave you with a gnarly headache after a night of drinking. This is all a part of the hangover process that most of us know all too well. Red wine, however, won’t wait until the next day to give you pain. Red wine will give you a headache when you are still drinking because it contains tyramine. Tyramine is a substance found in aged foods and beverages. Yes, I am telling you that wine and cheese could be giving you that headache. I’m sorry. Red wine also contains polyphenols, which are compounds that can interfere with serotonin metabolism in the brain.
Many people rely on caffeine to get through their day. One cup turns to two cups, and so on and so on. You can’t get through that meeting or your workday without it. We have lived like this for so long that we tend to forget how powerful our cravings and addictions can be until we try to stop drinking it. Along with irritability and fatigue, a lack of caffeine can lead to a pretty bad headache.
You are what you eat! Meaning, the food that you eat will have a significant impact on how you feel. There may be something in your food that is giving you those terrible headaches. I’m talking about nitrates. Many different types of smoked, cured and processed meats contain nitrates. Nitrates are fine for some, however, they may not sit well with others and can cause headaches.
If all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you have excruciating pain in your head, that is called a "Thunderclap Headache." If it goes away on it’s own, this should be fine. If it keeps coming back, this could be critical and could mean that there is internal bleeding from the brain.
An ache around one eye is called a "Cluster Headache." If your eyes get red, then this is a bigger problem. Red eyes mean that you may be having an aneurysm, or you may have a brain tumor. Nausea and vomiting are further indicators that you have a bigger problem on your hands.
If you have long-term pain in your forehead, cheekbones or the bridge of your nose, you may have a sinus headache. Your headache may be accompanied by a runny nose, fever and stuffed up ears. Go see a doctor. An antibiotic or antihistamine can help clear you up and get you back to normal.
And again, before you freak out that you have a brain tumor, most headaches are just tension-type headaches. They can be brought on by stress, anxiety, alcohol and eye strain. Some people also experience exertion headaches that can occur after coughing, exercise or even sex.
I don’t mean to scare you, but a headache can also be a sign that there is something more detrimental going on in your body. If you are having them frequently, don’t ignore them. One here or there is fine, but frequent headaches can be the body telling you that something much more serious is going on and you need to get it checked out.
While a headache can be NBD, it can also be a warning sign. It can be a sign of a stroke, aneurysm, brain tumor or bleeding in the brain. It can also mean that your veins and arteries are not connecting properly. Now, before you lose your mind over a dull headache, take some Advil, take a nap and see how the headache progresses. You may also have a migraine and it may be nothing more than that at all.
Women tend to get more headaches than men, mostly due to hormones. This is especially true for migraines. If you are a woman and you get frequent headaches, you may want to see a cardiologist along with your primary physician or neurologist. One study out of the Institute of Public Health at Charlite-Universitatsmedizin in Berlin showed that female patients who suffered from migraines also had a higher risk of getting heart disease and strokes. They are not sure why there is a connection, but it is recommended that you get your heart checked just to be safe.
It is important to keep track of your headaches so you know if they are standard, or if they are more serious. Keep track of how long they last, how severe they are and how frequently you get them. Try to examine different triggers that may be causing them. All of this information can help your doctor diagnose you. Keep a headache diary and detail what you ate or drank surrounding the headache so you can get to the bottom of what is triggering your pain.