4 Gross Things That Happen To Your Body When You’re Dehydrated
Sunshine and long days are a lovely benefit of the warmer seasons, but the excess heat, combined with not keeping your reusable water bottle handy while you're traipsing around town, can quickly make you dehydrated. We all know the benefits of staying hydrated, but you probably didn't know that some very gross things can happen to your body when you're dehydrated. While many of us are familiar with dehydration headaches, there are other, less obvious symptoms that the body doesn't have enough water, and they're all worth knowing, even if they're slightly peculiar.
Avoiding dehydration can be tough if you're in a position where you're sweating out fluids at a high rate. If you're doing endurance exercise or at the gym for a long session, remember to include water breaks; these are an essential part of your routine. But even if you're having a relatively chilled out day at the beach, exposure to hot temperatures causes dehydration at a faster rate than sitting in an air-conditioned office, so make sure you have enough water around to keep your hydration levels stable. And I do mean water, not cocktails or beer; alcohol, like coffee and tea, is a diuretic, meaning that it causes you to urinate and lose a lot of the hydration benefits of liquid. Keep a water bottle handy and if you notice any of the symptoms on this list, make rehydration a priority.
1. Bad Breath
Halitosis, as bad breath is technically called, can be caused by dehydration because you have less moisture in your mouth. Spit isn't just there to help you digest your food; it's also there to clean bacteria away from your tongue and mouth tissues, and the more dehydrated you are, the less spit you produce. Result? A mouth that doesn't have enough saliva to lower bacteria growth, and an excess of nasty-smelling stuff that makes your dates turn and run.
2. Dark Orange Urine
One of the clearest signs of dehydration is the color of your urine. Most of us know that the ideal color is a very pale yellow or clear, as the water waste in the body dilutes the amount of pigmentation you pass. The yellow color is caused by something called urochrome, and the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are. However, other abnormal urinary colors are correlated to serious medical issues; if you notice that your urine is red or bloody, blue, green or dark brown, you should seek medical advice.
3. Dry, Swollen Eyes
Dehydration can have a surprising impact on eye health. People who have a dry eye condition, where the body doesn't produce enough tears to moisturize the surface of the eyes, will find their symptoms worsen when they're dehydrated. But when you reach a seriously dehydrated point, doctors have noted that your eyes will start to "sink" back in your head, become dry, and feel slightly swollen. This is classified as a medical emergency, so you should get yourself on fluids immediately and go to the closest emergency room.
4. Dry Tongue
This one is paired to the reduction in saliva as you dehydrate, and it feels disgusting. The tongue requires moisture to move around the mouth effectively, and as salivary glands begin to slow or stop production of spit during dehydration, it starts to feel "woolly" and uncomfortable in your mouth, and the rest of your mouth surfaces experience dry feelings as well. This isn't solved by swilling a bit of water around; you need to ingest sufficient liquids to kick-start salivary production again.
Serious dehydration is no joke. Rehydrate by sipping water regularly, preferably with electrolytes in it (coconut water or sports drinks are good for this). Putting rehydration tablets into water can be helpful if you're in danger of serious overheating, but avoid alcohol, coffee or tea. And if things aren't getting better, you may need to see a GP to get fluids through an IV.