8 Sneaky Signs You Are Dehydrated

by Taylor Henriquez

Fatigue, dizziness, a headache… you think you might be catching some kind of bug, which is a major bummer, seeing as how it is summer, and the last thing you want to do is spend a day in bed fighting off whatever germs have grabbed hold of your body. But before you call in sick to work, consider this — these might simply be signs you are dehydrated.

Dehydration occurs when the loss of fluids from the body exceeds the amount of fluids being taken in. We lose fluids every day in the form of water vapor from our breath, perspiration, and excretion through urine and stool. However with warmer weather, we increase our risk of dehydration by not properly replenishing the fluids we lose through sweating, from exercising outdoors, or by being outside for extended periods of time.

Water makes up more than half of our bodies. Besides quenching thirst, water serves a number of important functions, including regulating body temperature, allowing cells to grow and reproduce, delivering oxygen, and lubricating joints. Even mild dehydration can have an adverse affect on your overall health. Here are eight unexpected signs to look out for if you think you might be dehydrated.

1. You're craving something sweet

Remember learning about glycogen production in high school biology? No, me neither — but it’s an essential job of the liver, where glycogen is stored and made. Glycogen is made up of connected glucose molecules, which is a type of sugar we get from the carbohydrates we consume. Glucose is a major source of fuel for our cells, and water helps facilitate this process. A lack of fluids can cause difficulty in the production of energy output, and can trigger sugar cravings.

2. Poor Skin Elasticity

Dehydration can reduce skin’s elasticity when stretched. To test, stretch the skin on the back of your hand upwards, and release. If your skin doesn’t snap back to its original place, you could be dehydrated.

3. You never have to urinate

What comes in, must come out, and if you’re drinking enough fluids, you should be able to produce between 400 to 2,000 mL of urine in a 24-hour period, with an average fluid intake of two liters per day. If you're not urinating that frequently, it could be a sign you aren't getting the right amount of fluids your body needs.

4. Dizziness

The feeling of lightheadedness, spinning, or fainting can be signs of dehydration, low blood sugar, overexertion, or overheating. If you're headed out in the heat, make sure you bring a water bottle along with you.

5. Dry Mouth

Saliva is more than 99 percent water, and it aids digestion, improves our sense of taste, and cleans the inside of our mouth and teeth. The salivary glands where saliva is made can produce about two to four pints per day, but that becomes greatly reduced when our bodies are dehydrated.

6. Lack Of Tears

The body responds to dehydration by conserving water, and limits or stops urine, saliva, and tear production. Tears help lubricate your eyes, and without them, you may experience vision impairment, dry eyes, and irritation.

7. Headaches

When you are dehydrated, you're not only losing water, but you’re also losing important electrolytes like potassium, which stabilizes blood pressure and helps deliver oxygen to your brain. A lack of flowing oxygen can cause blood vessels to dilate in your brain, which leads to further discomfort.

8. Your Urine Is Yellow Or Orange

Urobilin is a chemical responsible for the yellow color in our urine. When we are dehydrated, waste cannot be flushed out of our bodies as easily. If you're experiencing urine that is darker than usual, it is likely your body is dehydrated.

Looking for instant ways to beat the heat this summer? Check out these genius cooling tricks, and for more life hacks, visit Bustle on YouTube.

Images: Lady May Pamintuan/Flickr; Giphy (8)