- Water is crucial for your body to function properly.
- There is, however, such a thing as drinking too much water and becoming overhydrated.
- Overhydration can lead to falling electrolyte levels resulting in headaches, nausea, and weakness.
Water is vital to the human body and staying hydrated should be a top priority for anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can, however, actually take your quest for hydration too far.
Experts recommend that healthy adults drink between nine-13 cups of fluids per day. Drinking too much water can cause side effects that range from annoying to life-threatening.
Here’s how to know if your water intake is too high.
You’re drinking water even when you’re not thirsty.
Experts believe that the vast majority of people meet their daily water needs by simply letting their thirst tell them when to drink. If you’re chugging water even when you’re not thirsty, you could be drinking more than your body needs.
Overhydration is dangerous because it can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium help regulate everything from your kidneys to your heart function. If you consume too much water, there may not be enough of these electrolytes in your blood to keep your body working properly.
Though it’s important to increase your water intake if you’re engaging in strenuous physical activity or outside in hot weather, allow your natural thirst to be your guide in most situations.
Your urine is completely clear.
You might know that dark-coloured urine can be a sign of dehydration, but that doesn’t mean that you should aim to produce urine that’s completely clear.
According to Healthline, pale yellow urine that looks like lemonade indicates a healthy level of hydration. Colorless urine, on the other hand, might mean that you are overhydrated and need to reduce your water intake.
You get up multiple times during the night to urinate.
Most people urinate six or seven times every 24 hours, according to Medical New Today. If you find yourself urinating more frequently and needing to wake up at night to use the bathroom, you may be drinking too much water.
Other conditions such as urinary tract infections, diabetes, prostate problems, and pelvic floor weakness can also cause frequent urination, so talk to your doctor if you notice yourself peeing much more than usual.
Your feet, hands, or lips are swollen.
One sign that you’re experiencing an electrolyte imbalance is swelling in the hands, feet, or lips. According to the MSD Manual, drinking too much water can lead to low levels of sodium in the blood. This can cause the body’s cells to swell and retain fluid. In some cases, the cells in the tissues of the face or extremities feel or look puffy if you’ve been over hydrating.
You have a lingering headache.
Drinking too much water can cause a sodium imbalance in the blood that leads to swelling in the body’s tissues. Brain cells are particularly susceptible to this effect, which can cause the brain to press on the skull. A throbbing headache might be a sign that your brain is experiencing some slight swelling due to overhydration.
In extreme cases, drinking too much water and lowering the sodium concentration in your blood can cause your brain to swell dangerously. This can lead to irreversible brain damage, seizures, coma, or death.
You never leave the house without your water bottle.
If you struggle to stay hydrated, it’s a great idea to carry a bottle with you in order to make accessing water easier. If you’re sipping constantly throughout the day, however, toting a water bottle everywhere might be leading you to take in too many fluids.
The MSD Manual advised that people who drink excessive water to avoid dehydration can actually develop overhydration. Unless it’s a very hot day, considering ditching the bottle during short trips out of the home or office and letting your thirst guide your drinking.
You feel nauseous for no apparent reason.
Although a number of medical conditions can cause nausea or vomiting, overhydration can frequently result in an upset stomach, according to Healthline. Feeling nauseating after you’ve been consuming large quantities of water might be a sign that you’re drinking too much.
Your muscles feel shaky or weak.
Drinking too much water can cause muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, according to Mayo Clinic. These symptoms may arise when the sodium in your blood becomes diluted. Noticing shakiness or pain in your arms and legs that doesn’t seem to be related to physical exertion or strain might be a sign that you are overly hydrated and lacking vital electrolytes.
Of course, if your muscle pain or weakness continues even after you’ve reduced your water intake, it’s worth checking in with a doctor.
You’re constantly fatigued and tired.
If you’re getting enough sleep but still feel tired, one possible cause might be overhydration. Per Mayo Clinic, drinking too much water can result in a loss of energy, drowsiness, or a constant feeling of fatigue due to the creation of an electrolyte imbalance within the body.
Try cutting back on excessive water intake to see if overhydration might be causing your lingering fatigue.
You experience confusion or disorientation.
One sign of overhydration or water intoxication is a feeling of confusion or disorientation. This is linked to falling levels of electrolytes such as sodium in the body.
If water intake continues to be excessive, symptoms can progress from mild confusion to delirium and seizures.
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