Drinking water can help you stay healthy, and it is likely that many of us could use an extra glass or two. However, there is such a thing as too much water! While most people tend to be on the lookout for signs of dehydration, overhydration can be equally as dangerous. Drinking too much water can result in water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, which occurs when excessive amounts of water cause low sodium by overwhelming the kidneys’ ability to excrete water. In severe cases, water intoxication can lead to health problems such as seizures, coma, and even death. Are you drinking too much water? Here are nine signs to look for.
9. You Always Have Water Bottles Nearby
Do you find you regularly have water bottles close by? Or refill them often? These may be signs you’re drinking too much water. Constantly drinking water can result in low sodium levels in your blood, which cause the cells to swell. According to Tamara Hew-Butler, DPM, Ph.D., an exercise science professor at Oakland University, this is especially dangerous because the brain also starts to swell. “Your brain can only swell about 8 to 10 percent before it reaches the skull and it pushes your brain stem out,” said Dr. Hew-Butler.
8. You Drink Water When You’re Not Thirsty
Thinking you’re thirsty and being thirsty are two separate things. “Our bodies are so programmed to fight against dehydration because we’ve always been living in fear of scarcity or not having enough, so we all have all of these built-in mechanisms to protect us against that,” Dr. Hew-Butler said. “One of these mechanisms that all animals have is thirst. Thirst is everybody’s monitor that lets them know if they need more. The more water you need, the thirstier you get.” Let a mild thirst be your guide as to when to drink water, rather than drinking it constantly.
7. You Continuously Drink Water Until Your Urine Is Clear
Drinking healthy amounts of water can turn the color of your urine to a straw-colored transparent yellow. While most people think clear urine is a sign of great health and proper hydration, it is, however, not as great of an indication as you would think. Having urine with no pigmentation at all can be a sign that you’re drinking too much water. Water consumption depends on the person’s height, weight, and exercise patterns.
6. Urinating Frequently During the Night
Waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom? This is a clear indication you’re drinking too much water. If you find you are urinating more than eight times a day, it is possible you’re consuming excess water. To prevent nighttime urination, try to drink your last glass of water a few hours before going to bed.
5. You Feel Nauseous or Experience VomitingRelated: 8 Signs You Are Dehydrated
Symptoms of overhydration are very similar to those of dehydration, according to Hew-Butler. If you drink too much water, the kidneys become unable to get rid of the excess liquid and water begins to collect. This can inevitably cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
4. You Have Throbbing Headaches
Throbbing headaches throughout the day are a symptom of both overhydration and dehydration. If you drink too much water, the salt concentration in the blood reduces and causes cells to swell. When the salt levels drop, the cells grow and the brain also grows in size and presses against the skull, thus causing the dreaded headaches.
3. You Notice Swelling or Discoloration
In some cases of hyponatremia, people can often experience swelling or discoloration in the hands, lips, and feet. When the cells throughout the body swell, so does the skin. For those who drink excessive water, sudden weight gain can also become noticeable.
2. You Have Weak Muscles and Cramp Easily
To maintain a healthy body, the key is to maintain a good balance of everything. If you drink too much water, your electrolyte levels drop and therefore compromise the desired balance. Low electrolyte levels cause many unpleasant symptoms, which can include muscle spasms and cramping. To prevent muscle problems, try replacing a few glasses of water with coconut water.
1. You Feel FatiguedRelated: Bottled Water: One of the Largest Scams in History?
If you drink large amounts of water, your kidneys are forced to work harder to filter the water you’ve consumed. By doing so, this creates a stressful reaction from your hormones that leave you feeling fatigued. Constantly drinking water can cause you to struggle to get out of bed.