Can You Drink Too Much Water? How Overhydration Can Harm Your Health
It’s no secret that water is vital for human life — up to 60% of the human body is made of water. Fluids are key for proper function and normal processes. But can you drink too much water? If you’ve ever looked into hydration science, you may know about overhydration. Overhydration is a condition where your body has too much water. It depletes the concentration of electrolytes like calcium and sodium, causing serious health concerns.
Here, we’ll explain why too much water can be a bad thing. You’ll learn more about the difference between overhydration and dehydration. Plus, you’ll learn proper hydration techniques and discover oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS. It’s a fast, low-cost, proven alternative to IV therapy for the management of mild to moderate dehydration.
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
You need to drink water to stay hydrated. That’s because water plays a key role in regulating your temperature, removing waste, and bulking up blood volume. Every organ in your body — from your brain cells to your heart — needs some amount of water to carry out normal bodily functions.
But can you drink too much water? Absolutely. Drinking excessive amounts of water in a short period of time can lead to rare (but dangerous) overhydration and water intoxication. This occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted. That’s because your body doesn’t just need water — it needs a precise balance of electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
When you drink more water than your kidneys can remove through urine, or retain too much water due to a medical condition, you can become overhydrated. Both types of overhydration are dangerous because they throw off the balance between water and sodium electrolytes in your blood.
Note: An imbalance in electrolytes can also cause dehydration. Dehydration occurs when electrolyte and water loss is greater than electrolyte and water intake. However, with overhydration, your body gets too much water and not enough electrolytes.
The main concern with overhydration is that it can cause hyponatremia. This condition occurs when your body has low sodium levels. As your sodium levels drop, your body starts to store too much water. As a result, your cells begin to swell, causing a wide range of problems. Low sodium levels can cause short-term memory loss, disorientation, seizures, and rapid heart rate. In rare cases, low blood sodium levels can cause death. This usually occurs when your sodium levels plummet too quickly.
So how much water should you drink? According to the CDC, there isn’t one standard amount of water for everyone to follow. Your health, physical activity level, body weight, and age play a role in the amount of water you need. Pregnancy status and breastfeeding can also impact how much water you should drink. The CDC recommends using the Dietary Reference Intakes guidelines for water consumption. The recommendations are about 2.7 liters of water for adult females and 3 liters of water for adult males.
What Causes Overhydration?
Overhydration, also known as water poisoning, can occur for several reasons. In general, you can get overhydrated by drinking too much water too quickly. It also occurs if your body holds on to excess water.
Medical conditions are responsible for this type of overhydration. Kidney problems, hormone imbalances, and diabetes can all increase the risk of overhydration. Psychiatric conditions like psychogenic polydipsia can also lead to overhydration. In addition, high blood pressure and medications for weight loss — like diuretics — can cause overhydration.
Endurance athletes are at high risk of overhydration as well. They often drink too much water before or after a triathlon or similar events. That’s why it’s incredibly important to pay attention to your body and hydrate effectively.
Symptoms of overhydration include:
Confusion or disorientation
Low blood pressure and drowsiness
Muscle cramps and stomach cramping
Fatigue and muscle weakness
Overhydration Versus Dehydration
For most healthy individuals, overhydration isn’t as big of a concern as dehydration. In fact, dehydration is a far more common condition. Overhydration typically only affects ultra-endurance athletes. In one study, 0.1%-4% of endurance athletes engaged in strenuous long-distance events were found to experience hyponatremia, which relates to overhydration. On the other hand, studies show that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. It is clear that dehydration is a far more common health issue.
Overhydration occurs when there is too much water in your system. In rare cases, this can occur if you drink large amounts of water too quickly. However, overhydration more commonly occurs as the result of a medical condition or due to polydipsia. It can also occur if you’re an endurance athlete and consume large amounts of water or sweat excessively during a race or training sessions. If you suspect you may be overhydrated, speak to a medical professional. Athletes may also talk to their trainer or physician to create a hydration protocol before, during, and after strenuous exercise.
While overhydration occurs because there’s too much water in your system, dehydration occurs when you don’t get enough water or if there’s an electrolyte imbalance. Symptoms can range from headaches and muscle cramps to lightheadedness and fatigue.
DripDrop ORS can help prevent and tackle dehydration. Start taking small sips of the solution at the first signs of dehydration to defeat dehydration quickly.
How to Stay Hydrated Properly
To avoid dehydration, it’s important to drink electrolytes, not just water. That’s why an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS is the best choice. It contains a precise balance of electrolytes that your body needs to avoid dehydration.
Medical-grade DripDrop ORS allows you to alleviate mild to moderate dehydration outside of a hospital setting, without the need for costly and painful IV therapy. Our patented formula is powerful enough to help patients suffering from dehydration caused by Ebola and cholera, but safe enough for everyday use. Plus, DripDrop ORS tastes amazing and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold.
Hydration affects everything from your nervous system to your muscles. Excessive water consumption can be harmful. Can you drink too much water? Yes. In severe cases, excess fluid can cause death. But while overhydration is something to consider, dehydration is a far more common risk. That’s why it’s so important to hydrate properly and monitor your fluid intake.
There are two key takeaways when it comes to proper hydration. First, the speed at which you consume water matters. Second, you can’t just drink water — you also need electrolytes like sodium chloride and potassium.
Most healthy people can follow the general guidelines for water consumption mentioned above. If you have a medical condition, talk to a healthcare professional or a dietitian about your water needs.
Don’t chug large amounts of water in a short time. Water chugging contests are particularly dangerous. During these competitions, you flood your body with water, depleting electrolytes like sodium rapidly. That can cause overhydration and water intoxication.
To avoid dehydration, take small sips of water or an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS throughout the day. You can pack a water bottle in your work or gym bag to remind yourself to stay hydrated. The convenient DripDrop ORS packaging makes it easy to add a precise balance of electrolytes wherever you are. You can add packets to glasses of water at the office or your hydration bladder when you’re out on the trails.
Manage Hydration With DripDrop ORS
Can you drink too much water? Yes. Excessive water intake can affect your sodium concentration and cause an electrolyte imbalance. This can lead to hyponatremia or water intoxication. While overhydration can occur, dehydration is more common and just as serious. Avoid dehydration with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS.
When you're in a state of dehydration, drinking water alone is not enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.
DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, ensuring you get the sodium and calcium you need to defeat dehydration.
For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great-tasting remedy. The convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it.
Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, if you're ready to make a purchase, and you're a first-time buyer, enjoy 15% off your order with code: FIRST15.