Drink Your Water, but Not Too Much!

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By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern

Photo by Ray Piedra on Pexels.com

How much water should you drink a day? You probably already know that daily water consumption is a daily necessity, but can you consume too much water? The answer is yes! But how is this possible?

The popular recommendation for water consumption is to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day, which is roughly 2,000 oz. Consuming over the recommended amount of water daily results in many complications, illnesses and even death. Hyponatremia, also known as “water intoxication” causes abnormally low levels of sodium and other electrolytes in your bloodstream, which can then lead to serious health problems such as seizures, coma, and in rare cases, is fatal (Hursh et al., 2022). 

You may also experience water poisoning or a disruption of brain function. This happens when there is too much water in the cells (including brain cells), causing them to swell (WebMD., 2022). You may experience things like confusion, drowsiness, and headaches. You may also be at risk of having seizures or going into a coma.

The good news is there are plenty of signs that suggest you may be consuming too much water:

  1. You never leave the house without a water bottle in your hand.
  2. You have throbbing headaches throughout the day.
  3. Your urination is beginning to become uncontrollable.
  4. Your urine looks like water (no color).
  5. You urinate frequently (including during the night).
  6. You drink water even when you aren’t thirsty.
  7. You experience leakage.
  8. You experience nausea or diarrhea.
  9. You notice swelling or discoloration in your hands, lips, and feet.
  10. Your muscles feel weak and tend to cramp easily.
  11. You feel tired and fatigued.

Hursh, L. R., Conklin, L. M., & Andersen, C. H. (2022, August 1). 11 potential signs you’re drinking too much water, from doctors. The Healthy. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.thehealthy.com/hydration/drinking-too-much-water/ 

WebMD. (n.d.). What happens when you drink too much water? WebMD. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-too-much-water-intake

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