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What Happens If You Don't Drink Enough Water?
Updated on August 16, 2022
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Diet / Weight Loss
What Happens If You Don't Drink Enough Water?
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You’ve probably heard people say that “water is life.” It’s not just because your body needs it for many functions. Staying hydrated helps maintain your health.

Unlike food, your body can't store water. You lose about 3 liters daily through sweat and urine, or when passing stool. Even mild dehydration can affect your health.

Drinking water replaces the fluids you lose. This relieves the effects of dehydration. It also restores your body’s ability to function properly.

What Happens If You Don't Drink Enough Water? 2

Why Is Water Good For You?

About 50 to 75% of our body is made up of water.1 

Your body depends on it for many internal functions. That’s why it’s present in many bodily fluids and organs, including your brain, heart, lungs, and blood. 

Here are the roles that water plays in your overall health:

  • Eliminates waste 
  • Lubricates joints 
  • Protects organs and tissues 
  • Regulates body temperature 
  • Encourages bowel movements 
  • Transports nutrients and oxygen
  • Maintain blood flow

How Much Water Should You Drink In A Day?

It depends on several factors. Factors that influence your required fluid intake include age, gender, lifestyle, physical activity, and current health.

Experts say you should drink this much water every day:

  • Healthy adult males over 19 years — 2.6 liters
  • Healthy adult females over 19 years old — 2.1 liters 
  • Pregnant women — 2.3 liters
  • Lactating women — 2.6 liters 

7 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

You can get dehydrated when the amount of fluids in your body is less than ideal. It may happen if you’re not drinking enough water, or if you lose too much water and don’t replace it. 

Depending on how much water your body needs, you’re more likely to experience mild to moderate hydration. This throws off your body’s balance and may cause the following signs: 

1. Thirst

Thirst is the first sign you get when your body fluids are low.2 Your mouth and throat will feel sticky and dry from the lack of saliva. 

You may also have the urge to grab your water bottle or drink other beverages, like sports drinks. You should only drink water when you’re thirsty. 

Sugary drinks can worsen symptoms of dehydration.

2. Constipation

If you’re not drinking enough water, it can affect your bowel movements. Your stools become hard and less frequent when you’re constipated. 

Constipation happens because your body is trying to save water. It does this by absorbing more water from food as it passes through your intestines.3

3. Dry skin or cracked lips

You can get dehydrated skin when you don’t drink enough water. Areas with thinner skin, such as your lips, can also crack. 

Dry skin may feel itchy, dull, wrinkly, or have an uneven complexion.4

4. Persistent headaches

Dehydration can give you a severeheadache by putting pressure on your nerves and brain.5 This may be accompanied by other signs such as dizziness, thirst, and fatigue. 

Once you get some rest, drink water, and take painkillers, it goes away. 

5. Dark yellow urine

When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys will try to save water instead of excreting it. This makes your urine more concentrated. It also looks darker in color.6

6. Feeling tired and weak

Your energy drops if your body doesn’t have enough water.7 Staying properly hydrated helps replenish the fluids you lose during the day. This helps you regain your energy. 

7. Poor brain function

Dehydration affects how your brain works. As a result, you may show symptoms of poor brain function, such as:8

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Moodiness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Increased sleepiness

Drinking water can help reduce these signs. It also improves your mental state. 

How Do You Test for Dehydration?

Dehydration can have a significant impact on your daily function, from your energy levels to motivation. So it’s important to know whether or not you’re getting enough water

.

Doctors don’t normally test for dehydration. Instead, they will watch for physical signs.

If you’re like most people, you will probably overlook these symptoms and think you didn’t eat well enough or haven’t had good sleep. As a result, your dehydration can go untreated.

At-home wellness tests like Vessel Health allow you to check your hydration, nutrition, and stress levels without having to see a doctor. It can provide:

  • A general picture of your current health
  • What your test results mean
  • Tips on how to improve your health

You can repeat tests daily, weekly, or monthly depending on your preference. The Vessel app lets you track your results and compare them for improvements.

However, it’s important that you see a doctor if you are severely dehydrated.

Resources

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  1. Water – a vital nutrient.” Better Health Channel.
  2. Dehydration.” Cleveland Clinic.
  3. The 5-Step Constipation Solution.” U.S. News.
  4. How to Tell if Your Skin Is Dehydrated.” Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute.
  5. Dehydration Headache.” Cleveland Clinic.
  6. Dehydration: Urine Color Chart.” Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
  7. Fight fatigue with fluids.” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.
  8. Influence of progressive fluid restriction on mood and physiological markers of dehydration in women.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine.
Jennifer Anyabuine
Jennifer Anyabuine
Content Contributor
Jennifer Anyabuine is a content writer with KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry. She has been writing for 2 years. Her focus is women’s health, fitness, mental health, and general wellness.
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