We all know about dehydration. Doctors tell us to drink 8 glasses of water a day, even though it’s probably a myth.
But we rarely talk about overhydration. It’s when we drink more water than necessary, which leads to loss of essential electrolytes from the body due to excessive urination.
Is it dangerous? What happens if you drink too much water? And will the excess peeing hamper your sleep? Well, the latter is for sure! But most importantly you need to know how to fix overhydration.
Keep reading while we answer your questions!
Symptoms of Overhydration
One symptom of overhydration is pretty clear: you will pee more often than not. And this may not sound very troublesome yet.
Here are three ‘drinking too much water symptoms’ that are sure to disturb your life if you don’t take care of them immediately.
1) Your urine is colorless.
Experts say that your urine should not be too yellow as it is a sign of dehydration. And to prevent dehydration, you may end up drinking more water than necessary.
When you do that, the number of your pee sessions will increase and your urine will become clear instead of being slightly yellow like it should be. That’s the sign you need to stay clear of.
2) You experience fatigue and muscle cramps.
Sodium plays a significant role in keeping our muscles healthy and other energy levels high. But when you suffer from overhydration, you basically suffer from Hyponatremia. The condition arises when your blood has low (diluted) amounts of sodium.
It’s because we lose a good chunk of our sodium reserves through sweat and urine. Since you drink too much water, your increased urine sessions encourage the body to throw out the sodium.
Low sodium leads to low energy causing fatigue, and other problems like muscle spasms and cramps. At a severe stage of this condition, you may even experience seizures or go into a coma.
3) Vomiting, nausea, confusion, headaches, and lightheadedness trouble you.
All these symptoms of overhydration – be it vomiting or lightheadedness – cause you trouble mostly in severe cases only.
So, if you are experiencing these issues and can’t seem to put a finger on any other cause, it’s likely due to overhydration and you need to check with your doctor as soon as possible to put a stop to it.
The reason behind these issues is electrolyte imbalance. Sodium is one of the most essential electrolytes that gets diluted in your bloodstream when you drink water excessively.
Since sodium has a crucial role to play for the better functioning of your muscles and nerves, it is important that we keep it in check.
Types of Overhydration
1) Increased intake of water:
This is when you consume more water than the amount your kidney can filter and excrete through urine in a day.
It can happen even by drinking 8 glasses of water a day, because that may not suit everyone.
2) Retained water:
This is when your body starts holding fluids. It can be because of liver problems, diabetes, anti-inflammatory drugs, and heart failure as well.
In both cases, you tend to develop the condition Hyponatremia.
How to Fix Overhydration?
Before you start treating overhydration, you need to diagnose the severity of the issue with the help of a doctor. The doctor will help answer all your doubts properly. Until then, let us help you out a tad.
How to fix overhydration immediately?
One of the best immediate solutions is to not drink water /fluids unless you are actually thirsty. If you feel thirsty all the time, try to delay consuming liquids a bit and consult your doctor.
If meeting a doctor is not possible at the moment, consider other home remedies.
How to fix overhydration at home?
Firstly, whenever you notice colorless urine, reduce fluid intake and get the urine back to the slightly yellow color.
Next, you can try diuretic drinks like coffee. However, coffee does not dehydrate you unless you have about 4-5 cups. And there’s a chance you may end up overhydrating yourself instead. So, try consuming coffee powder instead.
Apart from that, you can try diuretic foods like garlic, onion, celery, and bell peppers or electrolyte food like cheese to replace the lost sodium.
How to fix an overhydration headache?
You get nauseous or experience overhydration headaches due to an extreme loss of sodium from the body through excessive urination and sweat.
If you can replace that amount of sodium somehow, you may be able to get rid of that painful headache. One way to do that is by consuming electrolyte drinks nourished with sodium.
How long does it take to fix overhydration?
The treatment depends on age, sex, a person’s health levels, activity levels, and the cause behind overhydration. The severity of the condition is a big factor too.
Therefore, the time to fix overhydration may vary between a few hours to several days according to these factors.
People who are at a low severity level may be able to fix it through home remedies, while others may need extensive medication.
Other ways to fix overhydration –
But for a more permanent solution –
- Fix the underlying issue that’s causing the overhydration. It can be related to your heart, liver, and even pancreas (as in diabetes).
- If medications are the cause, replace them with better medicines or find a way to stop them altogether.
Now you know what happens when you drink too much water.
Whether you drink extra water to avoid dehydration or you do it because you are always thirsty, you are very likely to suffer from overhydration. And that brings with it the condition of Hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia is when your body doesn’t have enough sodium to function. Thankfully, this sodium – like all other electrolytes – can be replaced with ease through an electrolyte solution.
But how to fix overhydration permanently? If you find no good results by consuming electrolyte food and drinks, what you need to do is consult a doctor and find the right solution to this issue.