What Happens If You Drink Too Much Water?

A recent report shows that a women died due to excessive drinking of water. Also, another women got hospitalized due to the same reason. These incidents state that while staying hydrated is crucial for health, there is such a thing as drinking too much water.

Generally, people must drink a gallon of water a day to keep themselves hydrated. Excessive drinking might result in nausea, diarrhea at a later stage, and lower back issues. The TikTok user Michelle Fairburn, who got hospitalized showed these symptoms and was confirmed with a “severe sodium deficiency.”

Drinking Too Much Water

A condition called hyponatremia, commonly referred to as water intoxication, water poisoning, or overhydration, is the main risk associated with excessive water consumption. It generally occurs when the electrolytes in the blood start diluting due to excessive intake of water.

The kidneys of a person who is typically healthy should be able to control the water balance, according to Eric Adkins, MD, an emergency department physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. However, as soon as the kidneys are unable to eliminate water at a constant rate, the body’s sodium levels start to decline. It advances and might be hazardous.

One of the body’s essential electrolytes, sodium, aids in the regulation of muscles, nerves, and blood pressure. It is essential for keeping the body’s fluids in balance. Low sodium concentrations—below 135 mEq/L—may cause additional water to enter cells and produce swelling, which can lead to serious symptoms.

Lethargy or changed mental status may be signs of hyponatremia since the brain is sensitive to blood salt levels. Also possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, and lack of coordination. A few additional symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Irritation
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramping

As per a few reports if someone continues to consume too much water, they may potentially experience seizures or coma-like symptoms.

How Much Water Is Too Much?

There are no set standards for excessive water consumption. But as per experts, for adults the amount of fluid intake is 15.5 cups (men) and 11.5 cups (women).

According to the size of the person, drinking too much water will be somewhat proportional, according to Adkins. He said that each person has somewhat varied hydration requirements and body composition.

He even stated that if you need to determine whether you are drinking too much water or not, pay attention to the color of your urine.

Dark – Orange or Dark Yellow – Implies you are not getting enough water

One must always ensure that the color is a bit closer to light yellow.

Try drinking anything with electrolytes after a hard workout to help balance sodium levels, such as a sports drink or coconut water.

Read More – Natural Herbs to Beat the Heat and Stay Cool This Summer

An average person need not be concerned about hyponatremia. On the other hand, few people consume enough water. There are not several emergencies reporting the issue but it is recommended to ensure you do not cross the bar. According to Adkins, individuals who are elderly or in critical care are also more likely to develop hyponatremia because the disease can be brought on by excessive water intake as well as other conditions including diarrhea, excessive sweating, and vomiting.

How to Treat Hyponatremia?

Let me tell you the type of treatment depends on how serious the problem is. In order to check your levels if your doctor suspects you are deficient in sodium, they typically draw blood and urine samples. If you can limit the person’s water consumption, the kidneys will help return the balance to normal if it’s a mild case. However, in more serious cases, doctors would administer medicine or an IV to gradually raise sodium levels.

Adkins even stated that “we have to have really tight control” when it comes to correcting the body’s salt levels. According to him, if doctors “overcorrect” the imbalance too rapidly, it may have an adverse effect on the brain by damaging the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves.

If someone has a slight imbalance, their salt levels may return to normal after restricting their water intake within a few hours. In more severe cases, it can take several days.

Water Intake is essential for the body but excessive intake can affect your health. Also, in Ayurveda, it has been recommended to drink warm water rather than cold water. Cold water tightens the blood vessels as a result the body fails to all the nutrients and vitamins carried by the food.

Just like unhealthy food, excessive water intake can harm the body. 

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