Can You Drink Too Much Water?

It is important to keep your body hydrated because every cell in your body requires water to function properly. You should drink enough water daily to ensure you replace fluids lost through urine, sweat, and breath. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration and result in symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, and muscle cramps. However, experts believe that you should avoid the other extreme as well, e.g. drinking way too much water. But can it happen? And how much is too much? Will be there any serious consequences of drinking too much water? Let's find out now.

Can You Drink Too Much Water?

Yes, of course you can drink too much water. In fact, too much of anything is bad, and the same holds true for water. Drinking too much can lead to a condition called water intoxication. You have to understand that if you exceed the recommended intake of water, you may end up making yourself sick. That additional water intake can cause several symptoms, which may appear after drinking as little as 3-4 liters of water in a short time.

What you need to understand is that your kidneys can get rid of 20-28 liters of water every day, but they just cannot eliminate up to a liter of water every hour. That will be too much of work and may even lead to hyponatremia symptoms. Therefore, it is important to avoid drinking 0.8-1.0 liter of water within an hour.

Another interesting thing is that it was thought that everyone should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, but that is no longer the case. How much water you need depends on your weight, size, and how active you are. Generally, it is a good idea to drink at least half an ounce of fluid for each pound of body weight. It means that if you weigh 150 pounds, you should at least be drinking 75 ounces of water; however, it is better not to exceed an ounce of water for each pound of body weight. Also, keep in mind that you will need less if you live in a colder climate and are not that active.

Signs of Drinking Too Much Water

Can you drink too much water? Yes, it is possible. You may notice over-hydration symptoms when you drink more water than your kidneys can eliminate effectively. You will experience problems when your body fails to get rid of excess water and it stays in your system. Here are some possible issues associated with over-hydration:

1. You Experience Muscle Cramps

If you are getting too much water, you may experience muscle cramps more often. This happens because excessive water intake can disturb your electrolyte levels. Low electrolyte levels can result in muscle cramps. It is therefore a good idea to drink coconut water or other electrolyte drinks to avoid this problem.

2. You Urinate More Frequently

Frequent urination is an obvious issue associated with excessive water intake. Your kidneys are capable of filtering around 15 liters of water daily, but drinking more than this would put serious pressure on your kidneys and you will have to use the bathroom multiple times in an hour.

3. You Develop Adrenal Fatigue

It happens when you put your body under stress by drinking too much water in a short time. That is mainly because your kidneys will have to work harder to eliminate excess water, and this would stimulate your adrenal glands that are responsible for dealing with excessive stress. Too much stress hormones in your system can lead to many other problems as well.

4. You Hurt Your Heart

Can you drink too much water? Of course, what's more, drinking too much water can also hurt your heart. This happens because excessive intake of water can increase the volume of blood in your body, which in turn will put serious stress on your heart while pumping blood. This unnecessary pressure can actually damage your blood vessels and even lead to seizure sometimes.

5. You Develop Hyponatremia

Your body cannot function properly when there is an imbalance in the sodium content in the blood. This can directly affect the functioning of the electrolytes. Drinking too much water is a surefire way to lower the sodium levels in your blood, and this in turn will affect the electrolytes in a negative way. This eventually leads to a condition called hyponatremia, which occur when your sodium levels are under 135mm/liter. This makes cells to swell and leads to other problems, such as vomiting, nausea, excessive urination, fatigue, headache, and disorientation.

6. You Hurt Your Digestive System

Drinking too much water too quickly can result in stomach irritation. As mentioned already, excessive water can disturb electrolyte balance, and this can irritate your stomach. If you do not listen to your body, you may eventually end up dealing with hyponatremia.

7. You Develop Liver Problems

Note that drinking too much water is not the sole cause, but it happens when you drink too much water contaminated with iron. While your body has its own way to deal with iron overload, drinking too much too quickly can lead to liver-related problems.

8. You Get Brain Edema

Can you drink too much water? Yes, you can, and it can actually hurt your brain in many ways. It can cause brain edema that leads to swelling of brain cells. Since there is no room in your skull for the swelling to stretch out, you will experience severe pressure in your head along with severe headaches. If you do not get medical assistance, it could lead to severe problems, such as brainstem herniation, coma, and respiratory attack.

9. You Experience Organ Dysfunction

This can happen when you drink water contaminated with chlorine. It is common to purify drinking water with chlorine, but too much of chlorine can result in problems like organ dysfunction and cancer. 

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