Remaining hydrated is critical to your overall health because every cell in your body needs water to function properly. Moreover, water accounts for two-thirds of a healthy human body and is responsible for lubricating the joints and eyes, eliminating body waste and toxins, facilitating digestion, and keeping the skin healthy.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than you take in, resulting in insufficient water content for your biological system to work properly.
Inadequate water intake during the summer months compounded by strenuous exercise that induces excessive perspiration can give rise to a dehydration spell in people of all ages. Aside from these, there are several other causes that may lead to this condition.
Breathing, sweating, urination, defecation, tears, and saliva are the normal sources of water loss in your body every day. The lost liquid is then replenished through the fluids and food items (with water content) we consume.
Dehydration occurs when a person loses too much water from the body or is unable to eat or drink enough to keep the body hydrated.
Those who are at high risk of suffering from this condition include:
Your body may lose more water than usual due to:
Symptoms of dehydration in adults include:
Symptoms associated with dehydration in infants or young children are:
Symptoms of severe or chronic dehydration are:
If you are already dehydrated, follow the following simple steps:
There are a number of safe and natural methods that can be used to treat dehydration.
Here are some easy and effective home remedies for dehydration.
The first step towards treating dehydration is increasing your water intake. Water is usually enough to rehydrate adults. You should drink sufficient water, even if you do not feel particularly thirsty.
According to the Institute of Medicine, healthy adult men living in a temperate climate need an adequate intake of about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages in a day, while healthy adult women need about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages in a day.
Prompt restoration of lost fluids and minerals in the body is important when one is suffering from dehydration. An easy way to achieve this is with the help of a homemade ORS.
A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology states that ORS is effective against dehydration mortality caused by diarrhea in home, community, and facility settings.
You can also buy drugstore ORS approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Yogurt is an effective remedy for dehydration caused by diarrhea or vomiting. It is a good source of electrolytes. In addition, it is soothing to the stomach and easily digested.
If you are suffering from mild to moderate dehydration, it will help to increase your intake of water-rich fruits and vegetables.
According to a study conducted at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) in 2009, fruits and vegetables that have high water content hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water.
A study that published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2013) states that regular fruit and vegetable intake may relevantly improve hydration status in children.
Fruits and vegetables with high water content contain hydrating salts, minerals, and sugars. Therefore, they work in a way similar to the isotonic drinks favored by athletes.
A few examples of such fruits and vegetables are watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, cucumber, grapes, papaya, celery, lettuce, radishes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Bananas are another fruit that can help you in treating mild dehydration. Dehydration results in loss of essential minerals like potassium in the body. Being rich in potassium, bananas can help restore this important mineral.
Moreover, it may help in restoring the normal functioning of cramped muscles caused by excess water loss in the body.
Consuming a glass of coconut water may also help treat dehydration. The high electrolyte content of coconut water makes it an extremely hydrating drink. Moreover, it is relatively low in calories and sugar.
According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2012), coconut water has a positive effect that is quite similar to sports drinks.
According to Ayurveda, buttermilk is a good remedy for mild dehydration. It replenishes the essential minerals that are lost during excessive sweating (one of the main causes of dehydration).
Barley water is another effective remedy to keep your body hydrated. The nutrients in barley help replenish minerals lost with dehydration. Barley water can provide quick relief from symptoms of dehydration as it is easily digested and keeps the body cool.
Lemon water is an excellent remedy for dehydration. This soothing drink will help hydrate the body to keep you feeling energized and refreshed.
You can prevent dehydration by doing a few simple things, such as:
It is recommended that you call the emergency hotline or visit the doctor when you experience the following symptoms associated with severe dehydration:
If not treated in time, dehydration may lead to several serious complications. Mild dehydration may be treated without medical intervention. However, you should seek medical help for severe dehydration.
Answered by Dr. Amber Robins, MD (Family Doctor)
For most women, dehydration during pregnancy could lead to having uterine contractions at various stages of pregnancy. The concern for anyone, whether pregnant or not, would be that severe dehydration can lead to lower blood pressure, and less blood reaching vital organs needed for the body to work appropriately.
To avoid this, pregnant women should be sure to drink water, especially during times of warmer weather.
Milk is a source of rehydration though water or a drink with electrolytes may be even better. For those who may be having diarrhea or vomiting, drinking something with electrolytes is preferred to replace those that were lost. Milk can help increase calcium levels but is not the go-to for rehydration.
The body has a way to compensate for minor dehydration, which does not severely affect organs. However, with very severe dehydration that is caused by low fluid intake or even excessive bleeding, the body can go into shock, which can affect the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart.
The pinching test is usually used for severe dehydration. It is not common that people would get to this point often. A sign of if you are dehydrated in the earlier stages would be looking at the color of your urine. The more yellow your urine is, the more dehydrated you likely are.
Coffee can cause dehydration as it is a diuretic causing one to urinate more. This leads to fluid loss from the body. To balance out the effects of coffee, it can be helpful to drink more water to replenish the body with the fluids that were lost.
The simplest test of whether you are hydrated is by looking at your urine. If your urine is clear, it is more likely that you are hydrated. To avoid dehydration, it is good to plan specific times during the day to rehydrate.
If you know that you will be in a warmer climate, you should remember to carry water with you to hydrate throughout the day.
About Dr. Amber Robins, MD: is a Board-Certified Family Medicine doctor practicing in Washington, DC, and graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She is the owner of She is a recent Health and Media fellow graduate from Georgetown University and PBS News Hour.
She is the author and founder of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats” and “The Write Prescription: Finding the ‘Right’ Spiritual Dosage to Overcome Any Obstacle”.
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