Whatever medical issues you are dealing with, you are usually advised to drink more water. Medical practitioners have made water seem like the elixir of life. Though water is very necessary for survival, but when too much of it is taken, it can be very harmful to your health.
We are constantly being told about the benefits of drinking water regularly, and most of these benefits are true, but unfortunately, it is possible to drink too much water.
Drinking more than three to four cups per hour can lead to hyponatremia. When you’re taking in more water than you can remove, it makes your blood sodium level very low, leading to fatigue, vomiting, confusion, headaches and even death.
Here are some signs that your water or fluid consumption is excessive.
You Always Have a Bottle of Water with You
If you find yourself always carrying a bottle of water wherever you go, and immediately refilling it when it is empty, then you probably are drinking too much water. You might be doing this thinking it is beneficial to your body, but drinking too much water can result in low sodium levels in your blood, which can cause your electrolytes in your body to deplete, causing all the cells in your body to swell. This can lead to further complications
You Are Not Thirsty, But You Still Drink Water
The best way to know if your body really needs more water is to be consciously aware of whether or not you actually feel thirsty. You might have read somewhere that you should drink at least 3 to 4 liters of water every day. And you are probably trying to get yourself to drink up to that quantity. But did you know that your food also contains water? Yes! So, when you force yourself to drink 3-4 liters of water per day, you are actually drinking way more than your body needs. And this might result in over-hydration.
You Think Clear Urine is a Sign of Good Health
Do you keep drinking water until the color of your urine is clear? Well, the sign of a healthy body is pale yellow urine. Clear urine is an indication that you drank too much water, and there’s an electrolyte balance in your body.
You Frequently Urinate In the Day And At Night
Do you find yourself running to the washroom every 30 minutes or so? Do you often wake up in the night to use the washroom? Then, you are over hydrated.
You Experience Headaches
Both over hydration and dehydration can cause headache. When you drink too much water, your cells swell up and grow in size. Your brain cells also get affected the same way, and your brain starts to push against the skull. As a result, you experience a constant headache.
You Feel Nauseous
Too much water in your body might hinder your kidney function. This means that your kidneys will be tired and stop flushing out water from the body. And this leads to the feeling of nausea and vomiting.
Swelling and Discoloration Of The Hands, Feet, And Lips
Drinking too much water can also lead to swelling of the lips, hands, and feet. Since your kidneys are not functioning properly, your body will retain the excess water. Also, you will gain weight suddenly due to water retention in the body.
You Experience Muscle Weakness
Frequent muscle cramping and weakness are two other signs of over hydration. This happens because the electrolyte balance in the body is hampered. To keep your electrolyte levels up, you can drink coconut water instead of just water.
You Are Tired
When your kidneys are constantly functioning to help flush out the excess water, your body is stressed out. And this impacts how you feel in general. You will feel tired and fatigued if you drink too much water.
Side effects of drinking too much water
Water causes the cells to swell up
When sodium decreases in your body, by the principle of osmosis, water enters the cell through the semipermeable cell membrane. This results in swelling up of the cells. The swelling of the body cells (including the brain) causes serious damage to the muscle tissues, organs, and brain.
Overhydration can cause hypokalemia or a decrease in potassium ions. The balance between intracellular and extracellular potassium ions is hampered when you drink too much water. In fact, a mere 1% change in potassium ion distribution can lead to a whopping 50% change in plasma potassium ion concentration. And this can result in severe diarrhea and prolonged sweating
Hyponatremia is a decrease in sodium levels below 136 mmol/liter blood serum. It happens due to quick over hydration. Sodium is an important salt that helps in cell signaling and various other functions in the body. So, when your serum sodium levels drop, you start feeling nauseous, disoriented, fatigued, or get a headache. And in severe cases, it might also lead to death.
Affects the Brain
Hyponatremia or low-sodium in the blood can cause the brain to swell up. And this, in turn, results in speech disability, disorientation, walking instability, psychosis, and even death.
Overburdens the Heart
The heart performs the vital function of pumping blood through your entire body. When you consume too much of water, it increases the volume of blood inside your body. The increased blood volume exerts unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels and the heart, leading to seizure in some cases.
Overburdens the Kidneys
Consuming too much water can put pressure on your kidneys to function constantly. Your kidneys can filter about a liter of fluid per hour from the body. Beyond that, they have to work extra hard to maintain homeostasis.
Causes Liver Problems
It is important to note that this problem is not caused by merely drinking too much water. Rather, it happens by drinking too much of water with iron in it. Iron overload is not exactly detrimental, but in rare cases, it may cause liver-related problems as well.