What is Overhydration?
Did you know that at least 60% of a human adult body is water? Your heart and your brain are composed of 73% water. To keep your body working optimally, you should take in a lot of liquids. Your body needs water to prevent constipation, flush waste products from your body, regulate body temperature, and perform other critical functions in your system.
If you are into working out or an athlete, you should concentrate on drinking plenty of water. Water is good for life, but sometimes drinking a lot of it can be dangerous to your health. If you are chugging water all the time, it may be toxic to your body.
Overhydration happens when drinking too much water creates an imbalance between the electrolytes and salts in your body.
For instance, drinking excess water can result in hyponatremia, a condition where there are low levels of sodium salt in your body. When there are low electrolytes in your body, it can result in some unhealthy conditions.
Causes of Overhydration
Overhydration happens when your body holds on to more fluids than your kidney can excrete. Simply, it’s an imbalance between the fluids in your body. Water levels in your body can only build up if your body doesn’t have a way to get rid of it, or you tend to drink too much water.
In most cases, athletes and fitness people drink a lot of water before and during events to keep their bodies hydrated. On average, if you want to keep your body fluid level on point, you should get in at least 8 cups of water a day. According to the Institute of Medicine, it is essential to take between 78-100 ounces of water a day to keep your body healthy.
The amount of water you should take per day can vary based on:
- Age: Adults drink more water than children
- Environment: Dehydration is more likely to occur at high altitudes. Also, the amount of water you consume a day will depend on how hot or humid your environment is. When it’s hot, you sweat a lot and are likely to drink more water to keep hydrated.
- Health: You lose a lot of fluids when you vomit, have diarrhea, and have a fever, and also when you are experiencing kidney stones or bladder infections. These conditions require you to drink more water to prevent dehydration.
- Exercise: You need to drink enough water to replace the fluids you lose while exercising.
- Breastfeeding and pregnancy: Pregnant and lactating women need plenty of fluid, especially water, to keep hydrated.
Symptoms of Overhydration: How do you know if you’re overhydrated?
How do you know it’s time to cut back after drinking a lot of water? According to medics, if you notice the following signs, then you may be overhydrated:
- Your urine is very clear.
Ideally, urine should be light yellow. So, if you pee and you see that your urine is colorless, you are overhydrated. Also, if your urine is dark yellow, you are not drinking the recommended amount of water a day.
Your body is dumping the excess water if your pee is more transparent. If your urine turns out to be clearer, you should hold off from drinking too much water.
- You go to pee frequently.
Another sign you are overhydrated is when you go to pee more frequently. On average, you should pee after every 3-4 hours if you are healthy. If you need the toilet more than four times a day, it means you are overhydrated.
- You have more severe symptoms.
If you want to keep healthy, there are more severe symptoms of overhydration that you need to watch out for. These severe signs of overhydration include:
- Muscle cramping
- Loss of coordination
Situations That Increase the Risk of Being Overhydrated
Endurance athletes and those working out a lot are more likely to face overhydration. Most athletes will drink water before training, increasing the risk of overhydration. Other people who may encounter overhydration include:
- Those who like hiking mountains
- Military personnel involved in high-intensity training
- Rugby players
- Elite rowers
- People with kidney and liver diseases
- People with heart failure
Focus Points to Staying in Optimal Hydration
The only way to reduce the risk of overhydration is to drink only the recommended water per day. It would help if you also refrained from activities that make you consume excessive water every day.
Drink plenty of water when you feel thirsty. Choose to drink water instead of energy drinks or other fluids when you can. Don’t wait too long until you become dehydrated before you can drink water. After a long and sweaty workout, you should be more careful how much water you are drinking.
Fill a bottle with the recommended amount of water and sip it throughout the day. If you struggle with your daily intake, this will help a lot! Monitor your body for signs of overhydration and only hit your targeted amount of water intake daily.