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. 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. Your brain can only swell about 8 to 10% before it reaches the skull and it pushes your brain stem out.
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. 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. 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, having urine with no pigmentation at all may be a sign that you’re drinking too much water. For most people, eight to 10 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 drinking enough water does to your body.You may be drinking too much water if you find yourself often waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Most people urinate between six and eight times a day. If you find yourself urinating more than ten times a day, you may be drinking more water than your body needs. Other causes include an overactive bladder and caffeine. To prevent nighttime urination, have your last glass of water a couple hours before bed to give your kidneys time to filter the water through your body. Headaches are both a sign of overhydration and dehydration—similar to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. When you drink too much water, the salt concentration in your blood reduces, causing the cells in the organs throughout your body to swell. When your salt concentration is low, your cells grow. When you drink too much water, your brain actually grows in size and presses against the skull. This added pressure can cause a throbbing headache and more serious health problems such as brain impairment and trouble breathing. To keep track, learn the types of water that are contributing to your daily intake.Having a healthy, fully functioning body is all about balance. When you drink too much water, your electrolyte levels drop and that balance is compromised. Low electrolyte levels can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including muscle spasms and cramping. You can prevent muscle problems by replacing a couple glasses of water a day with coconut water, which is full of electrolytes and 100 percent natural, or an electrolyte drink.