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Can Skipping Meals Cause Headaches?

Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 12:10 pm

It is unhealthy for your overall system to skip a meal, and yes, skipping meals can cause headaches. The headache is a fallout from the drop in your blood sugar levels due to skipping a meal altogether.

When our blood sugar levels drop it makes us irritable which in turn increases our blood pressure which causes the tightening of blood vessels in the brain / body causing headaches.

How to Cure a Headache From Not Eating

Can skipping meals cause headaches? You can end up with a headache when you have a long gap between meals, or you have skipped a meal or are not eating enough. Not eating enough or skipping a meal causes low blood sugar, increased stress levels, tension in your muscles, etc.

All the above can result in you getting a hunger headache. Hunger headaches is a signal that your body needs more food or calories.

These headaches are self limiting but not self-healing. You should take the following measures to cure your headache caused from hunger:

  • Eat a snack or food
  • Drink water
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks

However, like they say prevention is better than cure and eating a balanced diet and at regular intervals is the best way to avoid them.

Headache from not eating but not hungry?

Not eating enough or having a large gap between meals triggers a headache, but in some cases you may have a hunger heading coupled along with loss of appetite. There are several factors which can cause headache and loss of appetite at the same time.

Sometimes even build up of acid in your stomach can cause loss of appetite along with hunger headaches. You should watch out for any form of infection/inflammation in your body, diabetes, or psychological factors such as anxiety and grief.

In most cases the headache and loss of appetite reduces over time and is self limiting, others may require medical attention and further diagnosis by a medical professional. So, can skipping meals cause headaches? Yes.

What To Eat For A Hunger Headache

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Can skipping meals cause headaches? Some common causes for hunger headaches are drop in blood sugar levels, dehydration and acid build up in stomach.

Treatment for hunger headaches includes increasing your sugar levels and ensuring you are well hydrated. Foods like fresh fruits, brown rice, fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fish and meat can cure hunger headaches.

How Long Do Hunger Headaches Last

Hunger headaches are largely triggered due to your brain not getting enough energy from the blood source due to drop in the glucose levels. This usually results in your body releasing a hormone called histamine which causes muscles to tighten up giving headaches.

Hunger headaches in most cases will go away or reduce greatly in about 30 minutes after eating food. Once you eat food your body converts it into glucose which supplies energy to your body and the brain resulting in relief from the headache.

So, skipping meals for longer, gives you bad headaches.

Why won’t my hunger headache go away? Can skipping meals cause headaches?

A hunger headache is how your body is letting you know it requires calories. Hunger headaches do not go away on their own.

In the majority of the cases hunger headaches go away when you eat a snack immediately to up your sugar levels, or hydrate yourself sufficiently by drinking enough water. If your hunger headache persists 30 minutes or 45 minutes post you have eaten food, then you may want to visit a medical professional for further diagnosis to eliminate any underlying health conditions.

You may also notice hunger headaches if you have suddenly switched to dieting or intermittent fasting, which may not go away quickly with intake of food.

Hunger Headache Diabetes Link

Diabetes is a chronic disorder which affects your metabolism and impacts your blood sugar levels in the body. Whenever the sugar levels fluctuate in your body it results in a headache.

If you are suffering from mild or dull headaches on regular basis then it could be caused due to diabetes. There are two ways in which diabetes can cause hunger headaches, and these are by hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

A hyperglycemia associated headache occurs when the blood sugar levels in your body shoot up and triggers a headache. Hunger headache due to hyperglycemia builds up over days and are usually considered an early sign for onset of hyperglycemia.

A hypoglycemia associated headache occurs when the glucose or sugar levels drop in your blood to below 70 mg/DL it causes a headache as the symptom of hypoglycemia. These headaches are usually associated with dizziness, irritability, nausea and weakness.

For hunger headaches triggered by diabetes you will need to keep a constant vigil on your blood sugar levels to ensure it does not drop or increase. Also, diabetes requires attention from medical professional as it is a chronic disease. Can skipping meals cause headaches or is it diabetes?

What is hunger migraine aura?

When you go without a meal or the gap while skipping meals is too long, it can cause a migraine or migraine aura headaches. Migraine headaches are different from normal headaches and are usually more severe and can debilitate you.

Can skipping meals cause headaches like migraines? Let us break down hunger migraine aura to understand it further into an aura and a migraine aura.

An aura is the term used for any sensory change which you may experience prior to a migraine attack, the changes of which may affect your hearing, vision or speech. You may also feel weakness in muscles or tingling sensation.

A migraine aura is when you get a severe headache coupled with changes such in your hearing, ability to talk or blurred vision it is called a migraine aura. When the glucose levels drop in our blood due to lack of food it can end up in you getting a hunger migraine aura.

Not all migraines are with aura, as per research about one fourth of the migraines happen with auras. Hunger migraine auras do not threaten your life but can hurt you a lot, but you can take medicines and ensure a balanced diet at regular intervals to avoid hunger induced migraine auras.

FAQ Relating To Skipping Meals Causing Headaches

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A crucial FAQ that relates to skipping meals and headaches is about the connection between hunger and headaches.

That is why you should be aware of the nature of your headaches as they relate to skipping meals, especially certain kinds of meals and intervals.

How do you get rid of a headache from not eating?

If you have not eaten enough or are eating after a long gap, you will experience a headache due to lack of glucose in your body. Hunger headaches are linked dehydration as people do not drink enough water or fluids.

If there is a long gap between meals, or you have skipped a meal, you will usually get a headache.

In the majority of the situations you can relieve your hunger headache by eating a snack and drinking enough water.

What does a hunger headache feel like?

Your hunger headache will almost feel like a stress headache or a tension headache. You have to look out for symptoms like a dull or nagging headache, tightness around the head, pressure along the forehead, or tension in the neck/shoulder areas

If the glucose level in your body drops then you will also experience fatigue, lightheadedness, cold hands/feet, or trembling. The body tells you it needs food by initiating a mild headache.

If you listen to your body and eat food at the onset then the headache will go away in 15 minutes to 30 minutes. However, if you delay and ignore the mild headache then the other symptom onset will begin.

Do fasting headaches go away?

Many people fast due to religious reasons or due to maintain good overall health. Fasting headaches are primarily linked to hypoglycemia.

Headaches linked to fasting are very common, and they go away when you eat food and drink water post the fasting period. The headaches caused by fasting may be prevented by planning prior to your fast day.

Prior to your fasting day you should restrict caffeinated drinks, eat nutritious food, stay hydrated, eat complex carbohydrates and avoid large meals. After your fasting period is over you must eat to increase your calorie intake.

What could be the cause of daily headaches?

Majority of the people globally experience headaches from time to time. However, some people have chronic headache which they experience on a daily basis.

Researchers and scientists are not yet sure of what exactly causes daily headaches, but some possible reasons may include activation of the trigeminal nerve, muscle tension, changes in hormone levels, etc.

The trigeminal nerve can cause headaches as this is a nerve in your head that reacts to certain stimuli and sends pain messages to the brain. Tension in your muscles can cause stress headaches until the tension is set free, and hormonal differences can also lead to headaches.

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