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5 Signs of Dehydration

By Jeff Wise April 06, 2023

Do you drink enough water? Many of us assume we do, but without even realizing it, we can easily become dehydrated. Continue reading to see the 5 signs of dehydration.

The best way to ensure you're drinking enough water each day is to do this: half your weight and whatever that number is, that’s how many ounces you should drink in water.

This doesn't include sodas, coffee, or alcoholic drinks. You should never count these drinks in your daily water consumption.

If you're not drinking enough water, there are several dehydration symptoms to recognize. Some you may already know, but others could be new information.

5 Signs of Dehydration

Sign #1: Extreme Thirst

The first sensations of thirst indicate the beginning of dehydration. Many times, we tend to drink when we’re thirsty so it never becomes out of hand.

But there are times when we experience extreme thirst and don’t even realize it. Perhaps you’ve been exercising or participating in a strenuous activity. Afterward, you feel parched and no matter how much you drink, your body can’t seem to get enough.

Sometimes I’ve experienced this without even being very active. Sitting at a baseball tournament for half a day makes me a lot thirstier than I imagine it will.

Summertime is always a situation where you need hydration in hot weather.

If you’re experiencing extreme thirst, this is a sign of dehydration. Make sure you replenish that thirst with plenty of water.

Sign #2: Fewer Bathroom Breaks

Infrequent urination is a sign of dehydration. According to the Bladder and Bowel Community, the normal number of times a person should urinate each day is 6-7 times.

That doesn't necessarily mean that you’re unhealthy if you urinate less or more than that. Anywhere between 4-10 can be healthy for some. But the majority of people should urinate at least 6 times per day.

The color of your urine is also an indication of dehydration. If your pee is dark in color and has a strong smell, drink more water.

Frequency and dehydration are connected to bowel movements too. Constipation indicates dehydration.

Multiple sources say that anything between 3 per day to 3 per week is fine. I personally believe that it’s better to have closer to 3 per day to rid your body of toxins more frequently.

If you notice that your bathroom breaks are few and far between, an easy remedy is to drink more water.

Sign #3: Fatigue

When you’re dehydrated, it affects the flow of blood throughout the body. Since the body is made up mostly of water, in order for it to function properly, there must be a healthy fluid balance.

A lack of water causes blood volume to drop, which makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the skin and muscles.

Dehydration impairs the skin from diffusing heat, leading to internal heat elevations. This causes fatigue, but can also lead to other problems, such as light-headedness or muscle cramps.

If you’re experiencing fatigue, it’s possible that you’re dehydrated. This is just one of many reasons why you need to drink plenty of water when you’re active or out in the heat.

Sign #4: Dizziness

We mentioned light-headedness in the last section and dizziness is clearly connected. Another symptom is vertigo.

Dizziness and vertigo can be very dangerous symptoms and can be debilitating. One time, I woke up with vertigo and had to stay in bed most of the day. It was horrible! I’ve known some people who have had vertigo for several days at a time!

That’s not to say that dizziness and vertigo are always results of dehydration, but it’s definitely a possibility.

If you have these symptoms, it doesn’t hurt to drink water. Hopefully, these symptoms will improve as your body becomes more hydrated.

Sign #5: Confusion

Confusion or disorientation can be a serious sign of severe dehydration. If you or someone you love starts having these symptoms, drink a glass of water immediately.

In relation, attention span, reaction, and short-term memory loss can also be signs of dehydration. All of these symptoms tend to go hand-in-hand.

If drinking water doesn’t improve the confusion, you should seek medical attention immediately. It could be an indication of a serious health concern.

Dehydration Signs in Infants

For infants and young children, signs of dehydration are a little different.

If you have a young child, look for these six signs if you’re unsure whether they’re dehydrated.

  • No tears when they cry
  • A dry mouth or tongue
  • No wet diapers for three hours
  • A sunken soft spot on their head
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks
  • Irritability or limpness

If you notice any of these symptoms, give your child fluids immediately. Depending on their age, either give them breastmilk, formula, or water.

Benefits of Knowing the Signs of Dehydration

By recognizing these signs, it’s much easier to stop dehydration before it starts. If you ignore them, it could lead to harmful health effects.

Drink enough clean water each day and these problems can be easily remedied or prevented.

As we said earlier, there’s an easy way to know how much water you should drink a day. Halve your weight and drink that amount in ounces. It’s that easy!

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