If you’re someone who struggles with staying hydrated, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from acute and chronic dehydration and its associated symptoms, including:
- and skin dryness.
But, have you ever wondered how long it takes to reverse chronic dehydration once you start drinking sufficient water?
In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question and provide some tips for staying hydrated. Whether you’re looking to improve your overall health or just feel better on a day-to-day basis, we’re here to help.
So, grab a glass of water, and let’s get started!
Chronic Dehydration Symptoms
Thirst is a physiological response that occurs when the body needs water. It is the most obvious symptom of acute dehydration, and it is the body’s way of signaling that you need to drink extra water. If you feel thirsty, it means that your body is already dehydrated, and it is important to consume water to rehydrate.
It is important to note that thirst may not always be a reliable indicator of dehydration, especially in older adults and those with certain medical conditions.
It’s crucial to have more fluids even when you’re not thirsty, to maintain a proper hydration level and prevent dehydration from happening.
According to a report, nearly 75% of Americans are estimated to be chronically dehydrated.
2. Dry Mouth and Throat
When the body is dehydrated, it does not have sufficient water to produce saliva, which can lead to a dry mouth and throat. Saliva helps to lubricate the mouth and throat, and it also contains enzymes that help to break down food.
This will make it difficult to speak, swallow, and eat. It can also lead to foul breath, sore throat, and a feeling of discomfort. This can be a sign of mild dehydration especially if accompanied by other symptoms.
3. Dark Yellow Urine
The colour of your urine can be a good indicator of your hydration levels. When your body is well hydrated, your urine should be a light yellow colour. However, when you are dehydrated, your urine will become darker in colour.
Dark yellow or amber-coloured urine can be a sign that your body needs extra water. Drinking sufficient water and monitoring the colour of your urine throughout the day would help in determining whether or not you are properly hydrated.
Various studies have shown the effect of hydration on urine colour, you can check for your reference.
4. Fatigue and Weakness
Fatigue and weakness occur when the body does not have sufficient water to function properly. When dehydrated, it will lead to low blood volume which makes it harder for the blood to pump oxygen and nutrients to the cells. As a result, the body’s energy levels drop, leading to feelings of fatigue and weakness.
Dehydration can also affect the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, leading to heat exhaustion, high body temperature, and fatigue. It’s important to note that fatigue can be caused by other factors as well, but chronic dehydration is one of the common causes.
Dehydration can cause headaches due to a lack of water in the brain. The brain is made up of 73% water, and when the body is dehydrated, the brain can shrink away from the skull, causing tension & headaches. Dehydration can also lead to a decrease in blood flow to the brain, which can cause migraines. A 2022 study showed the link between dehydration and migraine.
Dehydration-induced headaches can be felt in the temples, back of the head, or the entire head. These headaches can be mild to severe and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and nausea.
It’s important to drink water and consume enough fluids when experiencing headaches to help ease symptoms and prevent further dehydration.
6. Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are a common symptom of dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it can lead to a loss of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. These electrolytes are essential for proper muscle function and when they are not in balance, it can lead to muscle cramps. The cramps can happen in any muscle but are most common in the legs and feet.
The cramps can be extremely painful and can make it difficult to move or exercise. Drinking water and replenishing electrolytes by eating foods rich in them, such as bananas, can help prevent and alleviate muscle cramps caused by chronic dehydration.
7. Dry Skin and Wrinkles
When the body is dehydrated or chronically dehydrated, it can lead to dry, flaky, and itchy skin. This happens because the skin lacks the necessary water to stay hydrated and moisturized. Dehydration can also cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear on the skin, as it loses its elasticity and becomes less plump.
Dry skin can make existing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis worse. To prevent dryness on your skin and wrinkles due to dehydration, it is important to drink more fluid and use moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated. Drinking water and using moisturizer will help to plump up the skin, giving it a more youthful and healthy appearance.
Constipation is a common symptom of dehydration because the body needs adequate water to properly digest food and move waste through the digestive tract. When the body is severely dehydrated, the colon absorbs water from the stool to maintain hydration, making the stool harder and more difficult to pass.
This can lead to infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stools. It can be helpful to increase your intake of high-fibre foods to help promote regular bowel movements and alleviate constipation. Consuming water before and after meals, and during the day can also help prevent constipation.
For reference, check out this report by WebMd.
9. Dizziness or Lightheadedness
Dizziness or lightheadedness is a common symptom of mild to moderate dehydration, and dehydration occurs when the body does not have enough fluid to maintain normal blood flow to the brain. When the body is severely dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker and more viscous, which makes it harder for the heart to pump it through the body. This can cause a decrease in blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.
Dizziness or lightheadedness can be a sign that you need to drink more water. It’s a good idea to have a water bottle with you and sip on it throughout the day to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Remember, staying hydrated is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being, so don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink more fluids.
11. Bad Breath
When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva to wash away bacteria in your mouth, leading to an increase in bacteria and foul breath. Your mouth needs saliva to neutralize the acid that causes tooth decay and foul breath, so when you’re dehydrated, your mouth can become dry, leading to foul breath.
It’s easy to fix this symptom, by drinking more water and staying hydrated, you can help keep your mouth clean and fresh. Brush your teeth regularly and use mouthwash to help keep your breath smelling fresh. And don’t forget to floss, it can help remove bacteria and food particles that can lead to foul breath.
Causes and Risk Factors for Chronic Dehydration
1. Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms that can occur due to a variety of reasons such as food poisoning, pregnancy, certain medications, and some illnesses.
When a person is experiencing nausea or vomiting, they may not feel like drinking water or drinking enough fluids. This can lead to chronic dehydration as the body is losing fluids but not receiving enough to replace them.
Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating temperature, and it helps to keep the body cool. However, excessive sweating can lead to chronic dehydration.
This can happen when people are physically active, such as during sports or exercise, or when they work in hot environments, such as factories or construction sites. When the body sweats, it loses water and electrolytes, which are essential for maintaining proper hydration.
Diuretics are substances that increase urine production, which can lead to dehydration. Some examples of diuretics include caffeine and alcohol.
Caffeine is a stimulant found in many drinks like coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. When consumed in large quantities, caffeine can act as a diuretic, increasing urine production and leading to dehydration.
Alcohol is another common diuretic that can lead to chronic dehydration. Alcohol is a natural diuretic, and it stimulates the production of urine. When consumed in large quantities, it can cause dehydration, especially if consumed without enough water.
Medications, such as diuretics and laxatives, can also cause chronic dehydration. These medications are specifically designed to increase urine production and can cause dehydration if taken in large doses or over an extended period of time.
As people age, they may not feel thirsty as often or may have difficulty recognizing when they are dehydrated. This is because the body’s thirst mechanism can weaken with age, making it harder for older adults to feel thirsty even when dehydrated.
Older adults may have decreased ability to sense changes in body temperature, making it harder for them to recognize when they are dehydrated.
Chronic dehydration can also occur as a result of malnutrition because the body’s water balance is dependent on electrolytes and minerals, which are obtained through diet. If a person is not consuming enough of these nutrients, their body may not be able to retain the water they drink, leading to severe dehydration.
How Long does it Take to Reverse Chronic Dehydration?
Chronic dehydration is a common problem that affects a large percentage of the population. Dehydration occurs when the body does not receive enough water to work properly and can lead to a wide range of health issues.
The good news is that chronic dehydration is curable, but many people ask, “how long does it take to reverse chronic dehydration?” The answer to this question depends on several factors such as the severity of the dehydration, the individual’s overall health, and lifestyle.
In general, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to cure chronic dehydration. The first step in curing chronic dehydration is to start drinking more water. The recommended daily water intake for adults according to a report published in WebMD is about eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which is about 2 litres for women, and about 12 glasses for men. For those who are dehydrated, it is recommended to drink even more water than this.
It’s important to note that increasing water intake alone is not enough to cure severe dehydration. In addition to increasing water intake, you should also make sure that you are eating foods that are high in water content such as fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, and lettuce. Eating these foods can help to increase your overall fluid intake and provide your body with important nutrients.
Another important step in curing severe dehydration is to reduce your intake of diuretics. Diuretics are substances that increase urine production and can lead to dehydration. Examples of diuretics include caffeine, alcohol, and certain medications. If you are dehydrated and you consume these substances, it will be even harder for your body to rehydrate.
It’s also essential to note that chronic dehydration can be caused by underlying medical conditions. For example, people with diabetes, kidney disease, and cystic fibrosis are at an increased risk of dehydration. If you have one of these conditions, it’s important to work with your doctor to treat dehydration.
Exercise can also play a role in curing chronic dehydration. When you exercise, your body loses water through sweat, which can lead to dehydration. To combat this, it’s important to drink fluids before, during, and after exercise.
Additionally, you should wear moisture-wicking clothing during exercise to help keep your body cool and reduce the amount of sweat that you produce.
Curing chronic dehydration is possible and it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The key to curing severe dehydration is to increase fluid intake, eat foods that are high in water content, reduce the intake of diuretics, manage underlying medical conditions and exercise properly.
It’s essential to work with your doctor to monitor your hydration levels and make sure that you are taking the right steps to cure chronic dehydration. Remember, being properly hydrated is essential to maintaining good health, so it’s important to make sure that you are drinking enough water every day.