Overhydration: This is what happens if you drink too much water


Drinking enough water during the day is said to be extremely beneficial for overall well-being. However, much like everything else, excess water intake is also not good for the body.

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According to Dr Ashutosh Shukla, senior director-internal medicine & medical advisor, Max Hospital, drinking too much water is rarely a problem for a healthy and well-nourished adult.

“But, for those with kidney problems, overhydration may prove to be a challenge as the kidneys may not be able to get rid of the excess water. As a result, the sodium content of blood becomes diluted, leading to hyponatremia — a life-threatening condition,” Dr Ashutosh added.

Additionally, overhydration can also “cause more severe symptoms, such as muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps,” he said.

On the contrary, if you are someone who does not feel thirsty often, “but your urine is colourless or light yellow, then probably you have adequate fluid in your body,” Dr Ashutosh told indianexpress.com.

How much is too much?

As per Dr Ashutosh, on average, a healthy adult needs 8 to 12 glasses of water on a daily basis. “A rough working formula is that for every 20 kg of your body weight you need 1 litre of water. Hence, if your body weight is 60 kg, you need 3 litres per day,” he informed.

“Men should drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day and women around 11.5 cups (2.7 liters),” recommended Richa, a nutritionist, in an Instagram post.

“These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks,” she mentioned in the post. “To fulfill the water requirement of the body, it is essential to consume 50% plain water and 50% from other water sources — fruits, milk, vegetables, etc,” the post read.

Dr Ashutosh also pointed out that a person might need to modify their total water intake based on several factors which include exercise, environment, overall health, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Symptoms of overhydration

As the condition progresses, the common symptoms of overhydration include:
*Nausea and vomiting
*Changes in mental state such as confusion or disorientation

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