Things That Can Happen When You're Dehydrated

by Isadora Baum, CHC

Keeping yourself hydrated in the day is so important for maintaining high energy levels, stable mood, and proper balance. Not re-filling a water bottle throughout the day can definitely impact your wellbeing, and what can happen to your body when you're dehydrated can be quite scary and uncomfortable. If you're prone to forgetting to drink up, try setting an alarm or keeping a water bottle on your desk to act as a reminder. You can also add natural flavors, such as fresh fruit or herbs, to the water to jazz it up.

As a certified health coach, I work on keeping the body healthy and balanced, and when you're deficient in liquids, you're likely to feel out of whack. You might experience low energy, greater appetite surges, or lightheadedness, which are common and totally normal when you're lacking in fluids. Since the body is made up of mostly water, it needs to be replenished to keep organs functioning and hormones stable. You also lose water through sweating, such as exercise, and going to the bathroom, so being wary of the loss during the day can help you remember to take a few sips. Here are 9 signs that you might be dehydrated and are in need of some extra water.

1. Feeing Faint

"Dehydration can lead to fainting and lightheadedness," advises Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, over email with Bustle. "Dehydration in the body can cause your entire balance to be altered," explains Shaw, and so when you're not drinking enough, you might feel thrown off from normal functioning.

2. Dry Nails

If your nails are dry and peeling, it could be a sign that you're dehydrated and need to grab something stat. Having dry and thin nails doesn't look healthy, and it can be something so simple as just making more time for drinking good old H2O each day. "Dermatologically - skin becomes dry and wrinkled. Hair can become brittle and you can have increase breakage," advises Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director at BeWell Medicine, over email with Bustle.

3. Serious Cravings

If you're looking for something sweet to eat, it could be due to your body's need of fluids. When you're dehydrated, the body starts to crave foods that have glucose, which acts as a main source of fuel for the body to operate. If those office cookies look ways better than usual, take a sip of water first before digging in.

4. Lack Of Need To Urinate

If you're not able to pee at least 6 times a day, then you're seriously dehydrated (the average person should be peeing 6-8 times, or even 10 times a day). Keep track of how often you're going to the bathroom if you're concerned with dehydration risk. "We can become very thirsty" and have "decreased urination as well as dark urination," explains Dr. Partha Nandi M.D., F.A.C.P, the creator and host of the Emmy-award winning medical lifestyle television show, “Ask Dr. Nandi” which airs in over 85 million homes and is the Chief Health Editor at WXYZ-TV (ABC) Detroit, over email with Bustle. "Dehydration can give you fatigue, dizziness and lightheadedness and even confusion," Nandi adds.

5. Dark Yellow Pee

Likewise, if your pee is super dark yellow or mustard colored, it means you're dehydrated and should go grab some fluids, advises Katherine Greiner, nutritional expert from Ora Organic over email with Bustle. "If you suspect dehydration, check the color of your pee – it should be light yellow if not clear. Dark brown is not good. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat foods with high water content. Even try replacing a meal with a mostly liquid main such as a broth-based soup or a healthy green smoothie," Greiner adds.

6. Bad Breath

According to Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport, CEO and cofounder of dental care membership plan Afora, "dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors including illness, medications, and tobacco use but also occurs in people who are becoming or already are dehydrated. Bad breath is the number one indicator of dehydration, along with difficulty swallowing and a swollen tongue." Rappaport recommends, "drinking plenty of water throughout the day" and "chewing sugar free gum or mints, raw crunchy fruits and veggies (think apples, carrots and celery) all to help stimulate salivary production. OTC aids such as Biotene and Therabreath have many different products available to help combat dry mouth."

7. Lack Of Sweat

According to J. Timothy Lightfoot, Ph.D., director of the Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Texas A&M University over interview with Huffington Post, if you're not able to sweat, during workouts even, it means that you're dehydrated and should drink something fast to re-balance the body. "Exercise and excessive sweating without proper rehydration and cooler and dryer climates can contribute to dehydration as well," adds Greiner.

8. Increased Appetite

If you're constantly hungry, it could mean that you're dehydrated. When your body is low is fluids, it confuses the need and starts to feel hungry (even though you're not actually hungry, but are really just thirsty). The best advice is to drink something first and see how you feel before reaching for a snack. However, if it's been a few hours since you've eaten, your body is probably hungry.

9. Lower Immunity

If you're always getting sick, it could be due to a lower immune system as a result of dehydration. As explained by experts at Healthline, if you're thirsty and lacking in fluids, you'll be more likely to get sick. If you're always dealing with a lingering cough or stuffy nose, consider trying to drink more in the day and see if it helps.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it could mean that your body is seriously dehydrated and that you should drink a big, glass of water to fill up. Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content will help, too.

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