Headaches when swimming

I keep getting headaches when I swim, both in the pool and OW. Sometimes the ache is mild but other times it literally makes me have to get out of the water. I'm not swimming that far (max 2k) but it's getting annoying and making me not enjoy swimming.

Anyone shed any light?


  • Cold water, Water in your ears, too tight goggles / swm cap ?
  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭
    Your hat is too tight.
  • I find that wearing a mask as opposed to goggles gives me a headache as does wearing two swim caps.  I guess because of them being too tight.
  • Could be the goggles, I'll try loosening them enough so they don't fall off/let water in for next swim. Swim caps all feel okay.

    One of the pools I swim in is really warm and it happens then so I doubt it's the water being too cold.

    Never tried ear plugs - are they any good?
  • The cap I wore for Zurich oly wasn't tight and I had a headache then too.... Maybe I have a big head though! LOL Where would I get a bigger cap from though?
  • Aitch - have you got spare hair tucked into your hat - if so that can make the goggles too tight. Do you get an angry red ring around your eyes? imageimage

  • I was being sick during open water swims, Tried ear plugs and haven't had a problem since
  • Sometimes get that Waff and yes the hair is tucked up. I will loosen the goggles for OW swim on Sat morning and see if that's any better. I might get ear plugs as well...
  • Bizarre suggestion but could it be the hair itself?  When I had much longer hair it would give me headaches as my hair never liked to be placed in other directions than where it naturally falls.  I would get the same headache wearing a ponytail and I could virtually feel every root of hair on my head.  Now that my hair is short I don't get those headaches anymore.  Obviously doesn't affect everybody as Meldy does ok and there's noone with more hair than her. image
  • Yeah tight googles give me a headache! Poor you Aitch, hope you get it sorted, not nice.
  • Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)
    I was being sick during open water swims, Tried ear plugs and haven't had a problem since
    Ear plugs have been my savior too.  Used to get all sorts of weird and wonderful niggles.  Vertigo from water in my ears, blocked sinuses etc but they have all gone.
  • I'd agree with the tight hat or goggles too. For some reason I brought a different hat with me to IMCH and it gave me a terrible headache on my first practice swim in lake zurich. it spent the remaining days stretched across my bike's saddle! So you can stretch it - put it over something and use a hairdrier on it (assuming it's a silicon hat)

    how are your sinuses?  does your nose stream a lot after swimming? could be sinus irritation - beconase works a treat for that.

  • I've had some weird sensations before I swam with earplugs - headaches, feeling really giddy etc.  Couldn't say for sure that they'd help you AItch but if the other things don't help then give them a try image
  • don't go blaming your pirate swim cap image

  • I will try stretching my hats and loosening my goggles. I might also try sorting my hair out a different way. If I still get them I will try getting some ear plugs.

    Melli, I don't have any other sinus problems, no nose streaming after swimming or anything like that.

    Thanks for all the help guys, hopefully I can get it sorted, preferably before the Vit!

    Farnie - I do hope it's not the pirate swim cap!!!
  • I suffer similarly and have put it down to several things

    1) the rubber swim caps aren't good to tight and pinchy, agree withNam about the hair thing, they pull it from the roots in various places and cause tension.

    Solution I have a Zoggs one which is a sort of plasticky neoprene which is fantastic even though it looks less sleek than a normal hat due to a channel of elastic round the dege. The silicone ones are better than rubber if you can't get hold of one.

    2) Heat in the pools. Unless it is a 50 metre competition pool they tend to be too warm, only suitable for larking about and sedate breast stroke.

    Solution, drink lots, take an Ibuprofen beforehand

    4) Could be the goggles, the tendency is to over tighten to get a good seal, but isn't necessary if they really are a good fit.

    Solution- personal choice this one, but I have used everything in the Aquasphere range and am most impressed with the Junior/female version of their Kaymen googles, better for my  teenage pinhead.

    5) Chlorine

    Solution, this is more of a sinus issue than headache one for me, but a anti histamine is usually effective.

    Hope you clear it up.

  • That's a top tip Mellifera re: the stretching thing.
  • Thanks Mon, top notch advice. I will make sure when I pool swim I take water down with me.

    I do need some new goggles as my pair I usually use have started letting water in. I will have at look at the ones you suggested Mon. Thanks image
  • ...stop drinking the water?

    OR are you again filling your 'water' bottle with Gin? image

  • Nick, Gin doesn't give me a headache image
  • Drink more gin, simple innit image

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