You may be wondering what happens when you drink too much water and what does it mean to drink too much water, anyway. To begin, let’s take a look at how much water your body needs, and then it will be easier to understand whether you drink too much of it.
Drinking enough water is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. That is not a surprise since the human body comprises around 60% of water. Water is essential for both our body and our mind. It has many health benefits; it boosts energy and improves our ability to concentrate on difficult tasks. Doctors always say we should stay hydrated and that we shouldn’t forget to drink water throughout the day.
Like with any other thing in life, it is essential not to exaggerate! If you drink more water then you need, it doesn’t mean that you will experience more health benefits. On the contrary, if you drink too much water, you can have some negative consequences.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
There is no definite answer to this question because it depends on a lot of factors, such as body weight, level of physical activity, and many more. It is usually recommended to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Some doctors advise their patients to drink much more water, up to 1 gallon, but that could be too much. Here is a list of the factors you should consider to determine how much water you should drink:
Your Height and Weight
You should determine the amount of water you need according to your body mass. Someone tall and overweight will have to drink more water to stay hydrated than someone very short and thin. Larger bodies need more substantial amounts of water so every organ can receive enough water and function properly.
If you are a short, tiny woman, there is no reason to follow recommendations that made for someone taller and with more body mass. Thus said, it is common to read that men need more water than women. It is not about the gender at all, but about the fact that an average man has more weight than the average woman and therefore his body needs more water.
The amount of water you need depends on the level of physical activity. On the days when you are involved in activities that make you sweat, such as jogging or aerobics, you need more water to cover the fluid loss. On the other hand, if you are not very active, or you are merely not sweating a lot, you won’t need that much water.
Environment and Temperature
When it’s hot and humid outside, especially during summertime, you sweat a lot, and therefore you need more water. It also depends a lot on the climate of the region where you currently are. You will probably drink far more water when it is hot than when it is cold, and that is entirely normal.
Is It Possible to Drink Too Much Water?
Yes, it is possible to drink too much water! In fact, with media bombarding you with information on the importance of water, it is easy to exaggerate! There is one big mistake that many people do: They haven’t been drinking enough water for years. Then, one day, they hear how important it is to drink water, and they decide to change something. All of a sudden, they start to force themselves to drink large amounts of water every day. That can be a big shock for the body!
So, be careful and try to balance your water intake!
Signs You Are Drinking Too Much Water
You Go to the Toilet Too Frequently
Frequent bathroom breaks are the most obvious sign that you might be over doing it with the water. If you notice that you go to the toilet too frequently and you don’t have any health issue, it might be time to consider lowering your water intake. Also, if you often wake up during the night because you have to go to the toilet, that is an alarming sign, and it means that you should limit the amount of water you drink.
Your Urine is Colorless
Scientists suggest that healthy urine is very light yellow, that is the sign you are drinking enough water. But if it is clear and has no color at all, that is probably the sign that you are exaggerating with water!
You Feel Full All the Time
You frequently skip meals because you feel too full, even if you haven’t eaten a lot. It is a bad sign, meaning that you are so full of water that you have no space left for food.
If you feel nauseous without any apparent reason (pregnancy, tiredness, food that wasn’t well prepared) it could be because you consumed more water than your body can handle!
Swollen Hands and Feet
Too much water can cause sodium imbalance. When the sodium level in your body is imbalanced, fluids rush to improve it. That can cause swelling in your hands and feet.
What Happens When You Drink Too Much Water?
Apart from uncomfortable situations like having to use the bathroom all the time, excessive consumption of water can cause more serious issues. It is harmful to the normal functioning of kidneys, and it can lead to losing some essential nutrients.
Too much water can cause an imbalance of nutrients in your body. It leads to lower levels of sodium and potassium in your body. Sodium and potassium are essential elements that your body needs to function correctly. Low level of sodium can cause discomforts such as nausea and vomiting. Additionally, a low level of potassium can cause even more severe issues such as chest pain, leg pain, weak muscles, and abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to serious heart problems.
Headache can be caused both by dehydration and over-hydration. Drinking too much water reduces the amount of salt in your organism, which makes the cells through your body swell. Brain cells also swell, and that is the cause of throbbing headaches that might be troubling you.
Same things can lead to the lack of concentration and focus, confusion, disorientation, and in some cases, even brain fog. Excessive water intake not only affects the physical body, but it also affects the mind too. It can cause problems with memory and make it difficult to remember things.
Stress and Tiredness
People usually never connect stress and tiredness with excessive water intake. On the contrary, they believe the more water they drink, the more energy they will have. It is not always like that. Increased water intake can leave you feeling tired and stressed out, and here is why:
When you are drinking too much water, you give extra work to your kidneys. Their job is to filter the water you drink but if the quantity is too large and they can’t handle it. That leads to activating stress hormones that cause stress and fatigue in your body. If you drank a lot of water right before going to sleep, you would probably wake up more tired then you were when you went to sleep, and now you know why.
Low Electrolyte Level
Electrolytes are crucial for the proper function of our body. Too much water can cause the electrolyte level to drop significantly, and low electrolyte level is the most common reason for muscle spasms and cramping.
Last but not least, drinking too much water can lead to severe problems with your kidneys, and it could damage them forever. It can have serious consequences and even cause kidney disfunction. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often because of the warning signs described above. That’s why it is important to pay attention to all signals your body might be sending to you so you can react on time and prevent more serious consequences.
Moderation is the Key
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink water! Both consuming too much or too little water can have negative consequences and provoke many health issues, as described above.
Every organism is different, which makes it almost impossible to establish universal rules on how much water should one drink. Instead, you should learn to listen to your body and its needs. When you notice the first signs that you might be exaggerating, it is time to limit your water intake and see if it gets better. Many things, such as headache or stress level, will improve within a couple of hours. When it comes to imbalance and low electrolyte level, it may take more time and some effort (for example to eat a specific type of food), but that can also significantly improve!
The goal is to become conscious of the water you drink and how it makes you feel. And not just drink too much water, out of a habit, or you’ve been told it is good for you. Remember, it’s all about balance!