Most of us could stand to drink more water—but there is too much of a good thing.
How is it possible to drink too much water?
Dietitians constantly remind us that drinking enough water is absolutely vital in order for our bodies to function properly. And it is—unless you drink too much of it. Though most people look out for the signs of dehydration, overhydration is equally as dangerous. Drinking too much water can result in water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, causing the inside of cells to flood due to abnormally low sodium levels in your bloodstream. In severe cases, water intoxication can lead to debilitating health problems such as seizures, coma, and even death.
You NEVER leave the house without a water bottle and constantly have one in hand
If you carry around your water bottle all day and immediately refill it when it depletes, you may be drinking too much water. Constantly adding water to your body can result in low sodium levels in your blood, which can cause all of the cells in your body to swell. According to Tamara Hew-Butler, DPM, PhD, an exercise science professor at Oakland University, this can become particularly dangerous when your brain 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,” Dr. Hew-Butler says.
You drink water even when you’re not thirsty
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. “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 have all of these built-in mechanisms to protect us against that,” Dr. Hew-Butler says. “One of these mechanisms that all animals have is thirst. Thirst is every body’s individual monitor that lets them know if they need more. The more water you need, the thirstier you get.” These are unexpected reasons you’re always thirsty and drink too much water.
You continuously drink water until your urine is clear
If you’re drinking a healthy amount of water, the color of your urine should be straw-colored to transparent yellow. Though most people believe clear urine is the healthiest sign of hydration, however, having urine with no pigmentation at all may be a sign that you’re drinking too much water. For most people, eight to ten glasses of water a day is considered a normal amount. This suggestion varies depending on an individual’s height, weight, and exercise patterns. Here’s what happens to your body when you drink the right amount of water.