For the proper functioning, all cells in the body need water. The problem arises when you drink too much water, which is called water intoxication.
There is no single formula for determining how much water you should drink on a daily basis. The popular recommendation of eight drinks a day is a good place to start. You should adjust your intake around this amount depending on your environment, exercise program, general health, and conditions such as pregnancy or breastfeeding.
What Happens When You Drink Too Much Water?
When you drink too much water, you can experience water poisoning, poisoning, or disruption of brain function. This happens when there is too much water in cells (including brain cells) causing them to swell. When brain cells swell, they put pressure on the brain. You may start to experience confusion, drowsiness, and a headache. If this pressure increases, it could cause conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and bradycardia (low heart rate).
Sodium is the electrolyte most affected by water intoxication, leading to a condition called hyponatremia. Sodium is a crucial element that helps maintain fluid balance inside and outside cells. When its levels drop due to a large amount of water in the body, fluids enter the cells. Then the cells swell, which puts you at risk for seizures, coma, or even death.
What are the signs of drinking too much water?
The color of your urine. One of the best ways to tell if you are drinking enough water is to monitor the color of your urine. It usually ranges from pale yellow to tea color due to the combination of urochromic pigment and the water level in your body. If the pee is often clear, this is a sure sign that you are drinking too much water in a short period of time.
Too many trips to the bathroom. Another sign is that you are relieving yourself more than usual. You should urinate six to eight times a day on an average. Going up to 10 times is normal for people who drink water or people who regularly drink caffeine or alcohol.
Drink water even if you are not thirsty. A third way to avoid drinking too much water is to know when your body needs it. The body can fight dehydration by letting you know when to drink water. Thirst is the body’s response to dehydration and should be your cue.
Nausea or vomiting. Symptoms of overhydration can be similar to those of dehydration. When you have too much water in the body, the kidneys cannot remove the excess fluid. It begins to build up in the body, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Throbbing headaches throughout the day. Headaches can mean both hydration and dehydration. The excess water in the body lowers the body’s salt levels and swells the cells. This swelling causes them to enlarge and those of the brain press against the skull. This pressure causes throbbing headaches and can lead to brain failure and difficulty breathing.
Discoloration of hands, feet and lips. When you are overhydrated, you will notice swelling or discoloration in your feet, hands, and lips. When cells swell, the skin swells as well.
Weak muscles that cramp easily. When electrolyte levels drop due to excessive water consumption, your body’s balance decreases. Low levels of electrolytes in the body can cause muscle spasms and cramps.
Fatigue. Drinking too much water makes your kidneys work too hard to flush out the excess. It creates a hormonal reaction that makes you feel stressed and tired. If you can’t get out of bed after drinking too much water, it’s because your kidneys are overworked.