Thirst isn’t the only sign of dehydration, here’s 9 more not to ignore. Turns out constantly craving H2O is just one.
“The average 150-pound person has about five litres of total body water,” Dr Seth Smith, clinical association professor in the University of Florida Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, told Prevention. “It’s not unusual for a highly active person to lose up to two of those litres through sweat during a workout.”
Ramp up the temperature and humidity, and you can expect that expenditure to increase, putting you at greater risk of dehydration symptoms and dehydration effects.
Ultimately, water is pretty much as essential to your body, so knowing how to tell if your system is displaying dehydration symptoms is crucial, not only to how well you can perform in your workout, but also for avoiding everything from bloating to constipation to kidney stones.
Think not feeling thirsty means you don’t need to rehydrate? Wrong. Here are ten dehydration symptoms to watch out for.
THE TOP TEN DEHYDRATION SYMPTOMS
Obvs. But, by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already likely to be about 2% dehydrated, says Dr Smith. Meaning the dehydration effects on your brain function, lungs, blood flow, muscle maintenance and so on, have already started to kick in.
Aim not only to drink when you’re thirsty, but take regular sips of water throughout the day, as well as including hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables (think melon, cucumber, grapes, celery) in your diet. If you’re exercising, drink before, during and after your workout.
2. Less trips to the toilet
Make sense, right? The less fluid you take in, the less you’re going to need to pee out.
But, instead of thinking that’s one less thing to worry about, remember that water helps the kidneys to remove waste from your blood. So, if they’re not getting enough water to carry nasties away from your body, you’ll simply store it all up – which, if your urine gets too concentrated, could lead to the likes of kidney stones, a condition four times as many women are complaining of.
3. Bad breath
If your mouth is smelling far from peachy, try drinking some water before you pop an Extra Strong Mint. According to Dr Smith, your body can’t make sufficient saliva without enough fluids – this can lead to a dry mouth, which in turn can cause bad breath.
4. Dry skin
Skin looking dull and a little, well, peely? Moisturisers such as this best moisturiser for dry skin can help in the immediate but, in order to tackle the root cause of the problem, you may need to address your daily water intake.
Your skin is made up of 80% water so if you’re not replenishing the fluids being lost through sweating, breathing and simply existing, it’s no surprise then that your largest organ is going to take one for the team.
Keep yours happy and plumped up by hitting the recommended two litres of water a day – more if you’re exercising.
5. Dark wee
If you’ve not already swotted up on our urine colour guide, then you might not know that the darker your urine, the more likely it is you’ll be experiencing dehydration effects. It’s quite simple really, aim for straw coloured pee. Yours looking like tea? Time to grab a drink.
6. Low blood pressure
According to Dr Smith, more than half of the blood in the body is plasma, the liquid part of the blood. Without enough water in your plasma, your blood will become more concentrated, making it harder for it to flow around the body to the organs that need it. Picture it as trying to squeeze an inflated fitness ball into your gym bag – it’s not going to happen.
7. Muscle cramping
Your muscles are made up from 75% water but, when you’re dehydrated, your body starts to prioritise which parts of the body it thinks need fluid most. “The heart is going to win out over the muscles,” says Dr Smith. And inadequate blood flow to the muscles is what causes them to cramp.
If you’ve been experiencing light-headedness, dizziness or headaches, it’s likely you’ve not been drinking enough. Headaches – and migraine symptoms are one of the top dehydration symptoms to watch out for.
Although water can help if you’re experiencing mild dehydration symptoms, you may find it helpful to drink a sports drink with electrolytes, minerals in the body’s fluids.
It’s not just hot temperatures that can cause your body to want to lie down. Dehydration effects can also cause you to experience feelings of fatigue. The reason is that when your body has insufficient water, your blood flow to the brain will slow and your blood pressure can drop.
Drink some water and snack on something with sodium, which helps the body retail fluids, suggests Dr Smith.
Sorry to end on a bum note but, if you’ve been far from regular lately or are finding you’re having to strain, it could be your digestive system’s way of telling you, you’re not drinking enough fluid to help it run smoothly.
Instead of taking this one of the dehydration symptoms as a reason to down your two-litre quote in a one-er, aim to take small sips of water throughout the day. It won’t overload your stomach so much and will reduce the likelihood of you feeling nauseous.