The Different Types of Headaches Women Experience and How to Manage Them
June 3, 2019
Writer Fisayo Aturamu explains the top ten reasons for headaches and how to avoid them in this article.
Headaches though self-limiting at times, are among the commonest symptoms patients complain of in the hospital.
While a headache could be a manifestation of a medical condition, it could also be benign (harmless).
Therefore, it is important that we identify the common causes of headaches and how to prevent them.
The following are the ten top reasons why you have a headache:
Stress is a common trigger for headaches in a lot of people.
When we are emotionally or physically stressed, we often get headaches that would only improve when we get rid of the stressor in our lives.
For example, ‘heartbreak’ from a broken relationship could manifest as a headache.
Most people get headaches when they are anxious, e.g. a medical student preparing for finals may get headaches during the exam period.
Therefore, it is important to identify and avoid stressors to prevent headaches.
The key for this to happen is to find a stress coping routine that works (and stick to it).
Sleep is very important for good health.
People with sleep disorders often get headaches as a result of a lack of sleep.
These types of headaches can be relieved by improved sleeping habits and sufficient sleep. Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep will allow optimal functioning in adults.
Ensure you are always hydrated by drinking at least 3 to 5 litres of water daily.
Dehydration causes a reduction in the usual blood volume, which in turn affects the amount of oxygen available for circulation.
Headaches can then develop as a symptom of reduced oxygen supply to the brain.
Some people may get headaches when they are hungry. This is the body’s reaction to low blood sugar. Avoid skipping meals to prevent headaches triggered by hunger.
Straining the eyes, a problem which happens from long- or short-sightedness, can cause headaches.
Most times, these headaches are relieved by the use of corrective eyeglasses.
Glaucoma and cataracts are conditions affecting the eyes that can also cause headaches as they become more severe.
Conditions like diabetes, hypertension and anaemia are associated with headaches.
In diabetes, a headache could be a warning sign that the blood sugar level is low.
In hypertensive patients, headaches could be a severe high blood pressure symptom. This could lead to a stroke and should not be ignored.
In severe anaemia, there is a reduced number of red blood cells in the body.
This means less oxygen available to the body tissues, including the brain, and thus severe anaemia causing headaches.
Infections like the flu, the common cold and an ear or throat infection may cause headaches. These headaches are cured when the infections are treated.
Some people get headaches after a period of exertion e.g. sex or exercise.
One of the ways to relieve these types of headaches is to modify the exercise routine, or be sure to adequately warm up before working out.
Extreme heat or a change in barometric pressure may trigger headaches in some people.
Making sure you remain hydrated and away from direct sunlight can prevent heat-induced headaches.
Some people also develop headaches from the change in altitude levels while travelling by air.
Staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol and caffeine while flying may help such people.
A headache may occur after an injury to the head. If you get an injury to the head. Please go to the hospital as soon as you can, especially if there is any area of bruising or swelling.
In some parts of the world and within certain populations, there are people who appear to have a higher threshold for pain and would usually not visit the hospital for a ‘common headache’.
This is probably due to cultural beliefs regarding headaches and (possibly) a poor health-seeking attitude.
However, here are some points that may suggest that a headache is not benign and that medical attention should be sought quickly:
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then it is important you immediately let your doctor know about the headache.
Headaches are often associated with a lot of superstitions in many developing countries; however, a headache is not a ‘spiritual’ attack.
If one develops a headache that persists, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
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