Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink
September 5, 2010 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Should I be worried about my sudden change in hydration levels?

For the past two months, I've been constantly dehydrated for some reason. I've been drinking a lot of water, over 50oz during the day, but if I forget to drink a glass before I go to bed, or if I drink one less bottle during the day, I wake up feeling hungover and my urine is very concentrated.

Obviously, the solution to this problem is 'drink more water', but I want to know if this dehydration issue may be a symptom of a larger problem.

I've never felt this dehydrated before, even when I drank less water. I spend almost all of my time in air-conditioned buildings. There have been no changes in my diet or surroundings over the past two years. I don't smoke, I only drink water (no sugary drinks, no caffeine) and a glass of wine or a beer every now and then, maybe once a week.

(I do plan on going to see a doctor, and I know YANMD ^_^)
posted by chara to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
50 oz (1.5? liters according to google) isn't that much fluid, its well within your recommended daily consumption.

Could be diabetes i guess, dehydration is a symptom.

If you're not feeling any other symptoms, like excessive tiredness, blurry vision etc. its probably just stress or you noticing your intake and stressing about it. But see a doctor and get some tests if you're worried.
posted by Greald at 9:56 AM on September 5, 2010

Even though some will say that the "eight glasses a day" thing is bunk, you are under that. (Assuming a glass is 8oz.)

Here is something I have finally started to notice this year: even though the air temperature in an air conditioned environment is cool, if you have a source of radiant heat nearby, you will still sweat. And of course since the air is cool and dry, it will evaporate quickly and you'll feel cold, but not cool. If that makes any sense.

I first noticed it in the car, and then in one room in my house. No matter how cold that rool is on the thermometer, it still doesn't feel right. Turns out, it's on the West side of the building and the brick wall is radiating heat into the room. Same thing in the car- no matter how cold it gets in there, if I'm in the sun, it feels hot/cold/clammy. One day, I set about investigating, and found that the floor and dashboard of the car were still really hot.

My point is, even though you are in a conditioned environment, you may well be sweating almost as much as if you weren't.

Another thing- our bodies don't absorb straight water as well as we do water mixed with salt and sugars. So a gallon of water on an empty stomach might not do as good as a quart with a meal. That's why Gatorade and Pedialyte work so well- their water/salt/sugar ratios are close to what's inside us that our osmotic processes work most effectively. Or something like that.
posted by gjc at 12:26 PM on September 5, 2010

Kind of stating the obvious, but it has been summer for the past 2 months. When it's hot, you sweat a lot more even if you don't notice it. Also, air-conditioned environments are typically very dry, so there's another reason you may have been losing more water through your skin without noticing. Also, I personally noticed that my body is less accommodating of minor dehydration as I age towards 30, with precisely the symptoms you describe. Perhaps you, too, are getting older?

I have to say what you're describing doesn't sound like what I've heard of diabetes symptoms. Do you find yourself excessively thirsty, or peeing a lot more than you used to? Those are the classic symptoms, as opposed to noticing headaches and concentrated urine when you drink a few ounces less than usual in a day.

Please do go to the doctor and get checked out, but I don't think what you're describing screams emergency or anything.
posted by vytae at 12:34 PM on September 5, 2010

Honestly, I only do super awesome if I drink half again as much water as I'm "supposed" to - so almost 100 oz of water a day. I have 32 oz in the morning before lunch, 32 oz during the afternoon, and I drink at least a pint if not a full additional 32oz in the evening. If I feel like I've lost ground, I'll have a powerade zero.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:11 PM on September 5, 2010

Type II diabetes

Go see a doctor. Soon
posted by BrooksCooper at 5:12 PM on September 5, 2010

You can buy a glucose meter for twenty bucks at any pharmacy and determine whether your sugar levels are normal right on the spot. I finally realized that my symptoms were diabetes and did that right in the middle of a 3-week business trip; I called my doctor immediately to schedule an appointment. But with untreated diabetes you get dehydrated because you're peeing all the time, not rarely with concentrated urine (still worth checking though, it's a very common condition if you're in the U.S.)

Alternatively, could you be on a new or increased dosage of medication that causes dry mouth? I once convinced myself that I was getting unusually dehydrated but instead it was because I was taking prescription amphetamines, which cause a limited version of "meth mouth".

(For exactly the meth mouth as a reason you definitely want to keep your mouth moist because the dryness can cause dental damage in the long term.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:01 PM on September 5, 2010

Best answer: I have this problem in summer even when I'm mostly indoors. I didn't have this problem until recently. I went to the doctor. Nothing is medically wrong with me, other than getting into my late 20s and not being as resilient as I might have been at 18. YMMV. IANAD. The point is to not worry too much, just see your doctor to rule out any problems.

Also, you might be drinking plenty of H20, but are you getting enough electrolytes?
posted by elpea at 8:30 PM on September 5, 2010

Also, being in A/C all day really dries me out. I drink a lot more water on work days when I'm stuck in the office than even on hot, sweaty days at home. Don't underestimate the power of humidity!
posted by saritonin at 7:20 PM on September 26, 2010

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