The fact is that most of us are not drinking enough water. It varies depending on your source, but the general recommendation for daily water intake has been 8 eight-ounce glasses a day, although research shows people may need more or less.
You do get some water from your food, especially if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But it’s also good to note that your water intake needs increase if you are exercising, if the weather is hot, or if you are breastfeeding.
So, how much water do you need (and what are the signs)?
Luckily, your body will tell you when you’re not getting enough water (and it’s essential that you listen). There are several signs that help identify when dehydration has set in, not the least of which is when you’re thirsty. Here are 5 other signs it’s time to head to the tap:
You get headaches.
Specifically, you get dehydration headaches. These can vary in severity, but can be as incapacitating as a migraine in some individuals. Dehydration headaches are caused by your brain not having enough fluid, which causes it to shrink, and in turn, creates a painful symptom. These headaches can occur on any side of your head or all over, but lacks the facial pain of a sinus headache or the neck pain that comes from a tension headache.
Not everyone gets dehydration headaches, and some people have to be severely dehydrated, which generally only happens if you have been or are sick; for example, when you have the stomach flu or food poisoning. If you get headaches after exercise, they are likely dehydration headaches – and it should signal you to carry and drink more water while working out. Dehydration also, incidentally, contributes to hangovers and headaches experienced at higher altitudes.
You feel dizzy.
Vertigo can accompany severe dehydration. It's caused by a drop in blood pressure. It's most common in older people and diabetics. Although note, if you're diabetic, it can also mean you have blood sugar issues.
Dizziness after exercise is a common sign of dehydration, and you should consider adding electrolytes to your water, as it typically accompanies too little salt since we lose salt when we sweat as well.
Your mouth is dry.
Dry mouth is when you’re not producing enough saliva. Your mouth may feel sticky and your throat dry, you may also notice cracked lips or a rough, dry tongue. If your lips feel dry, you definitely need to drink something as a first remedy, before reaching for a chapstick.
Some medications can also cause dry mouth, which may mean you need to drink a bit more water to mitigate the effect.
You experience bathroom issues.
Okay, there’s a thing called TMI. No one wants to talk about bathroom issues, necessarily, but they do give insight into if you’re dehydrated or not. So, here it goes.
Constipation can be a sign of chronic dehydration, and if you experience it regularly, your doctor may suggest increasing your water intake as well as other measures to improve regularity. Your body needs a certain amount of fluid to properly move food through the intestines. Drinking more water may not cure constipation if you have other contributing factors, but it can certainly help.
Also take notice if your pee is darker than normal. The color of your urine is determined by how much water the uric acid (which your body is getting rid of) is dissolved in. If you are not drinking enough, then your urine darkens. Less often, the darkening is related to a food or medication. However, pee should be pale yellow to deep amber. Dark yellow or orange urine, however, most often means you are dehydrated.
If drinking enough water does not return your pee to its normal color, you should consult your doctor as it can be a sign of liver or kidney problems. If your pee is completely clear, then you may actually be over hydrated. Decreased urine output is also a sign of dehydration.
Bear in mind that increased urine production can cause dehydration, which is one cause of hangovers and can also be a problem with people taking diuretics.
One major risk factor for kidney stones is low urine production. As already mentioned, that can be caused by dehydration. Chronic or repeated dehydration, in turn, can result in you getting this extremely painful problem, and possibly the worst sign of dehydration.
Symptoms include sharp, cramping pain in the back, an intense need to urinate, increased urination, burning during urination, red urine, nausea, vomiting, and pain at the tip of the penis in men. So yeah, kidney stones are highly unpleasant.
If you have other risk factors for kidney stones your doctor may recommend you drink 3 full liters of water a day.
Are you ready for a water tracking bottle?
The signs of dehydration vary from ordinary and slightly uncomfortable to incredibly painful and unpleasant.
So, what is the best way to increase your water intake? For some people, having water constantly nearby and sipping slowly can help. Others may need to listen to their body more and ensure they have water available when thirsty. Water is always the best fluid for hydration, although fruit and vegetable juices are also good in moderation, as are clear soups and non-caffeinated tea.
A time tracker water bottle is one way to make sure you are getting enough water. These water tracking bottles are marked so you know your daily water intake, helping to keep you consistently hydrated.
|Three Drops of Life Water Tracking Bottle|