Women’s bodies comprise about 55% water; men, about 60%. All your organs depend on adequate fluids because they, too, are mostly water. For instance, about 73% of a healthy brain and heart is simply water.
Thirst indicates that you’ve lost fluids, but thirst alone isn’t always reliable, especially as you age. Also, some people mistake thirst for hunger and eat rather than drink, which may lead to dehydration over time.
At Enrich Family Practice in Odessa, Texas, our expert nurse practitioners recommend consuming a healthy, whole-food diet — whether you want to lose weight or not — and taking in more fluids than you excrete. Staying hydrated is extra important when recovering from illness, a hangover, or stress, including travel.
Are you dehydrated? Following are signs that you need to saturate your body’s tissues with hydrating liquids as soon as possible.
1. You don’t pee very often
Although men don’t urinate as frequently as women, you may be dehydrated if you go an entire day without heading to the head. How often you need to pee depends on many factors, including your body mass, exercise level, and how many fluids you drink a day.
In general, women and men who consume the recommended two liters of fluids per day should urinate anywhere from 4-10 times a day.
If you’re not peeing every few hours, examine how many fluids you consume daily. Add more water, healthy drinks such as green tea, and water-rich vegetables and fruit. These additions should help keep your body hydrated and toxin-free; your urine output will prove it.
2. Your pee is dark
A clear sign that you’re dehydrated is dark-colored urine. Ideally, your urine should be pale yellow. The more you drink, the more the water dilutes the pigments in your urine. Signs that you’re not getting enough fluids include urine that looks deep yellow or even orange.
Your diet also affects your urine’s color. For example, beets may turn your urine pinkish, and medications may alter your urine color to blue or green. Orange or red urine may indicate kidney disease or blood in your urine.
If your pee is dark, increase your fluid intake until it’s a healthy, pale yellow. If you have colored urine, reach out to us for a diagnosis.
3. You get headaches
Since your brain is mostly water, your brain shrinks when you’re dehydrated. And yes, that’s just as bad as it sounds.
When your brain contracts from a lack of fluids, it pulls away from your skull and puts pressure on your nerves, which causes a headache. You can usually reverse a dehydration headache by drinking plenty of fluids and “filling up” your brain again.
4. You feel confused, dizzy, or tired
As you might imagine, a “shrunken” and dehydrated brain can’t function as well or as quickly as a plump, hydrated brain. In addition, when you don’t have enough fluids in your brain, it’s harder for your neurons to send electrical signals.
Researchers studying dehydrated brains in living subjects can see the neurons working harder than normal to perform even simple tasks. A tired brain can’t do higher-level tasks and may start to have trouble with memory and basic cognition.
This brain drain may lead to fatigue, compounded by the lack of fluids in your other organs, including your heart and lungs.
5. You’re extremely thirsty
Although you may not feel thirsty even if you’re dehydrated, if you’re extremely thirsty, that’s your body’s clear cry for water and other healthy fluids. Drink at the first sign of thirst. If you don’t get thirsty, assume your signal’s off and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Also, whenever you’re in a situation that depletes your body of water, be vigilant about taking fluids. Exercising hard, sweating in the hot sun, illness, and diarrhea require extra hydration.
Drinking fluids may not be enough if you’ve been under stress — such as airline travel, a hangover, or illness. We rehydrate your body within an hour using intravenous (IV) hydration. We provide a “cocktail” of vitamins on minerals depending on your needs.
To find out how to achieve optimal hydration and performance, contact us by phone at 432-200-9052 today. You can also use our online form.