Everyone knows what dehydration is and what normally happens when someone is dehydrated. But many people don’t the consequences of over-hydration. Yup, that’s right, there are consequences to over-hydrating yourself.
In dieting, drinking enough water is reinforced constantly by dietitians as water is essential for our bodies to effectively function on a daily basis. Some people can be instilled with the fear of dehydration, leading to a different problem instead; over-hydration.
Hyponatremia is the term used for water intoxication; a result of drinking too much water. In your bloodstream, “flooding” takes place inside our cells due to a lower than normal level of sodium levels present in the blood. Hyponatremia can cause seizures, coma and in severe cases, even death could result from it.
Signs That You Drink Too Much Water
You always have a water bottle in hand
An obvious sign of over-drinking water is when you constantly carry your water bottle around and refill it immediately as it goes empty. As mentioned earlier, the cells in your body can swell or “flood” as a result of low sodium levels in your blood caused by constantly adding water to your body.
It becomes a life-threatening matter when the brain begins to swell, according to an exercise science professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Tamara Hew-Butler, PhD, MI.“Your brain can only swell about 8 to 10% before it reaches the skull and it pushes your brain stem out,” says Hew-Butler.
Conscious awareness and feeling of thirstiness are the best indicators of your body needing more water.
“Our bodies are so programmed to fight against dehydration because we’ve always been living in fear of scarcity or not having enough, so we have all of these built-in mechanisms to protect us against that,” Hew-Butler says.
“One of these mechanisms that all animals have is thirst. Thirst is every body’s individual monitor that lets them know if they need more. The more water you need, the thirstier you get.”
Urine as clear as the water you drank
When the color of your urine is between transparent yellow or straw-colored, it means you’re drinking the right amount of water to be healthy.
The problem is many people believe the healthiest sign of hydration is when the urine is clear as water, when in reality it is a sign of over-hydration.
On average, 8 to 10 glasses of water a day is the right amount of water for most people, though factors like exercise, height and weight also determines how much one should drink.
Urinating during the night
Waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom is another sign of drinking too much water. Most people on average urinate 6 to 8 times during the day according to the Cleveland Clinic. Caffeine and an overactive bladder are other causes for night time urination.
Drinking your last glass of water a few hours before sleep is a good way to prevent night time urination, as it gives your kidneys some time to filter the water through your body.
Like dehydration, headaches are a symptom of over-hydration as well. This is again due to the lower salt concentration in your blood which leads to the flooding of the cells throughout your body.
Following this line of thought, the brain swells and presses against the skull, causing pressure to the brain which in turn leads to a throbbing headache and other problems like brain impairment, e.g., difficulty in understanding or even difficulty to breathe which are more severe.
When your intake of water is higher than necessary, your kidneys will need to do more work to make sure fluid levels in your bloodstream remain balanced. This stresses your hormones which in turn leaves you fatigued and stressed.
If you face trouble getting up from bed, one reason could be over-hydration which is causing excess stress on your kidneys.
In conclusion, dehydration and over-hydration both cause problems for your body. Balance is key, as you need to drink just enough to keep the body and its internal organs in optimal condition.
8th May 19:26