You’ve probably heard most of your life that your body is mostly water. You probably didn’t know that just being dehydrated by five percent makes you severely dehydrated. This dehydration is the type that requires hospitalization and an IV. Of course, you want to avoid this at all costs.
Here are some hidden and unknown dehydration symptoms and the dehydration treatment you should follow.
8 Dehydration Symptoms to Never Ignore
1. Problem: You’re Always Hungry
People usually think thirst is one of the first dehydration symptoms. However, according to Mayo Clinic, this might only occur when you’re severely dehydrated. You get water from the food you eat too. Your body knows this and makes you think you’re hungry since you’re ignoring your water intake. Since you’re hungry, you might think you need something extra hearty and fatty. This can be an issue because you ultimately need additional water in your system to help digest what you ate. Plus, you need even more water at a later time because you aren’t drinking enough fluid.
For your dehydration treatment, drink one to two cups of water before you eat anything. Then, allow 30 minutes to pass before you grab a bite to eat. If you’re still hungry, have a healthy snack. If you’re not hungry, the chances are that you needed water. Make sure to regularly stay hydrated to avoid unnecessary eating and so that your body remains healthy.
2. Problem: You Can’t Think Clearly
Your brain needs water. Water is taken from the “less important” organs to keep other ones, like your heart, operating correctly. Although you need your brain to think, your brain becomes depleted of water and shrinks as a result.
A 2015 study revealed that dehydration impacts the brain’s white matter, cortex, thalamus, and hypothalamus, causing people to feel disoriented.
This brain fog is one of the least known dehydration symptoms. It can shrink by as much as two percent its size. Your brain can’t fire off its neurotransmitters without enough water. This is why you’re awake, but your mind is incredibly fuzzy, your words don’t come out right, your thoughts are all jumbled, and you can’t remember the simplest of things.
Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, reach for some water. Coffee might help you to feel alert for a short time, but its effects are limited. Additionally, coffee is a diuretic. So every cup of coffee you drink can be like reducing water in your body by twice as much. Remember that the more caffeine you have, the more your body will release water. If you do this day after day, you’ll experience brain fog and other symptoms regularly.
3. Problem: You Feel Intense Food Cravings
You may have had strong food cravings out of nowhere. Few people connect the desire for a particular food to dehydration symptoms. Unless you’re pregnant or have something else going on, it could be that your body wants water.
This desire to eat is especially true if you start craving fruit and vegetables. For instance, you might want oranges, watermelon, grapes, or cucumbers. This means that you most likely need some water or to replenish minerals or vitamins in your diet.
If reading that made you thirsty, you need to drink some water.
The obvious solution is to drink water. Don’t reach for sports drinks either. A 2017 study indicates that although sports drinks hydrate you quickly, they may leave you feeling depleted, in the long run. The energy boost in such beverages comes from caffeine (which we discussed earlier) and carbohydrates. Those ingredients deliver your body some instant gratification, but your body burns through them rather rapidly. And that’s the cause of the crash afterward.
Here’s a better idea. In addition to drinking water, you can eat water too.
To maintain not only appropriate hydration but to achieve the right vitamins and minerals, you need a fair amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet. Fortunately, you have many options. For example, watermelons and strawberries are almost 92 percent water. Cantaloupe and grapefruit have around 90 percent of water in them. Make sure to get around six servings per day, and remember to “eat the rainbow” in fruit and vegetables.
4. Problem: You Have Headaches
Many people never suspect that they have headaches as a result of a lack of water intake. When your brain shrinks, it pulls away from your skull and activates pain receptors.
When you wake up, immediately drink a 16.9-ounce bottle of water. You’ll quickly have two cups down out of the day. Have some breakfast, and have another bottle after you eat. In this way, you have had about half the water you need in the day. This can also prevent you from having to urinate frequently when you’re doing errands or when you’re at work since this is a common complaint by many. If you drink half of your water in the morning before you leave the house, you can sip on the water for the rest of the day. If it has been a while since you have hard water, your body might not release it right away. Keep at it, and your body will let go of water retention.
5. Problem: You’re Constipated
We’ve all been there. Most people assume that they need more fiber if they’re constipated. This is partially true. You also need water to help your digestive system to eliminate waste. Fiber is water-soluble and insoluble, but you need water for both.
If you have too much fiber in your diet and not enough water, this can make you constipated also. To make matters worse, your body will absorb whatever water it can, including liquid from the waste in your intestines. So that means that the longer it has been since you had a bowel movement, the less water you have available to move your bowels. This is a scary thing to have happen.
You want to get between 18 and 35 grams of fiber per day, and you need to drink enough water.
You want to get between 18 and 35 grams of fiber per day, whether it’s soluble or insoluble, and you need to drink enough water. Many people don’t drink enough water. The recommended amount of 64 ounces is just the average amount based upon weight. The more you weigh, the more water you need to circulate throughout your system. You need to drink nearly half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
6. Problem: Your Lips Are Dry
Dry lips are an often missed symptom of being dehydrated. So if you’re always putting on lip balm, you probably need to drink more water. Don’t accept that flaky lips are the norm. Indeed, lips aren’t supposed to be cracked or peeling. They should be soft to the touch if you’re hydrated.
The medical team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) suggests that eight glasses of water daily could help you avoid chapped lips.
Continue to apply lip balm to calm the dry and flaky skin. However, start increasing the amount of water you drink, as well.
You can come up with many different methods for drinking water.
For example, you could drink a cup or two every one to two hours until you have consumed what you need in the day. You could have a cup each time you eat, two when you exercise and one when you take a break from work. The point is that you need to work in an efficient way to get water into your body.
7. Problem: You Get Lightheaded When Standing Up
This lightheadedness is problematic, and it’s probably one of the most overlooked symptoms. You might think you got up too fast or that something else is causing you to feel this dizziness. A lack of water in your body slows down your blood flow. This dehydration makes you dizzy. That’s beacuse your blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to the rest of your body. If you’re not getting oxygen, this is a huge problem.
If you feel lightheaded or dizzy often, it’s a signal that you’re dehydrated nearly every day. The chances are that it’s been going on for a while. According to UPMC, this condition is cumulative dehydration. It arises when your dehydrated state builds up over days or weeks. Their recommendation to avoid this dangerous condition is that females drink 70 ounces, and males drink 100 ounces of water daily.
8. Problem: You’re Always Tired
Fatigue is a real problem when you’re dehydrated. Your blood volume feels the impact of this shortfall of fluid.
According to a study published by Nutrition Reviews, “blood volume is normally tightly regulated by matching water intake and water output.”
In other words, a shortfall of water can cause your blood pressure to drop for a short time. Conversely, it can cause high blood pressure for other people. Therefore, not drinking enough water can cause changes in your blood pressure as well, exhausting your body.
Once you rehydrate your body, your blood moves more efficiently. Your blood pressure restores, and your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard to get your blood moving throughout your body.
You might be tempted to eat sugar or get an energy drink, but these aren’t the right solutions. If you’re getting enough rest, you should focus on sipping on water throughout the day to avoid depleting yourself of water, to begin with. Get a large container or bottle and frequently sip water throughout the day.
Final Thoughts: Dehydration Causes Severe Consequences to Your Body
The symptoms of dehydration mentioned today are just the most commonly overlooked signs.
Indeed, many other dehydration symptoms are better known by most. These also pose severe health consequences. Some of the better-known signs are the following:
- Muscle cramps
- Sunken eyes
- Irritability or mood swings
- Heat injury
- Urinary tract or kidney problems.
Fortunately, you can avoid all of these symptoms by sipping water, to a great extent. That’s a far more sensible thing to do than going to the emergency room for dehydration treatment.