BlogHealthWhat Are the Effects of Not Drinking Enough Water?

What Are the Effects of Not Drinking Enough Water?

Mariia Roza
Written by Mariia Roza on May 24, 2021

Table of contents

Humans are made up of 60% of water, so to say that drinking enough liquid is important will be an understatement. Water is vital for living, and it plays an essential role in multiple processes, including digestion and fat loss. The brain and heart are made up of 73% of water, which means that to properly function and continue living, water is a non-negotiable element! 

What is a healthy water intake?

One of the most popular beliefs on drinking water states that you should consume on average eight glasses of water a day. On which most nutrition specialists agree, a more personalized piece of advice is that to stay healthy, a person should drink half an ounce to one ounce of water a day per one pound of body weight.

Both these recommendations are not obligatory rules, as your need for water depends on many factors, including genetics, salt consumption, the temperature outdoors, and even a day of the menstrual cycle in females.

To stay on the safe side, pay attention to the signs of dehydration. Try to find out how much water you need and remember that this amount can differ from day to day. Also, keep in mind that too much water is not healthy either. Too high consumption of water can lead to brain swelling and low sodium concentration.

Signs of not drinking enough water 

Thirst. This is the main sign of dehydration; however, some nutritionists say that you might be already dehydrated if you feel thirsty. In any case, drink whenever you feel thirst, and don’t delay a glass of water if you don’t want to face other signs of dehydration.

Headaches. You know it on your own experience, and small surveys(1) show that water-deprived headaches are pretty common. Along with headaches, you might feel dizzy when moving, turning around, or getting up. There might be no need to conduct complex surveys to confirm that drinking enough water can help deal with some cases of headaches.

Bad breath. Bad breath can be the result of multiple factors, and insufficient saliva production is one of them. When you don’t get enough fluid, your mouth becomes dry, you produce less saliva, and you develop bad breath(2). 

Dark urine. It’s hard to calculate the precise amount of water you need, but one physical sign can surely tell that you have to hydrate your body better! 

Pay attention to the color of your urine. Healthy urine should be a light yellow color or even transparent. If your urine is dark, like the color of black tea, that’s your body screaming for help sending you signals that something isn’t right. 

Dry skin. When you don’t get enough water, your body tries to save it for your survival, which means it gives it to the most important organs like the brain, lungs, and heart, putting your skin in the last place.

Dehydration has a drastic effect on your appearance. Insufficient water intake can cause cracked lips, brittle nails, and overdried eyes.

If your skin sucks in all the fluid foundation you’ve put on, feels itchy, or you’ve noticed new mimic lines, you might be dehydrated. Try to normalize your water intake before buying an expensive cream.

The side effect of not drinking enough water 

If you don’t think water is essential yet, here are a few examples of what can happen to your body if you’re not drinking the proper amount of liquids.

  • Irritability. Mood swings, irritability, and depression are common symptoms of dehydration in both men(3) and women(4). Good rehydration throughout a day can diminish these symptoms and normalize your mood.
  • Muscle pains. Muscle cramps can be the result of exercising on high heat and poor electrolyte balance. Both can be avoided with the help of adequate water intake. 
  • Worsen memory. Water intake affects(5) memory and concentration. As water is an essential compound of the brain, proper hydration is vital for cognitive function. Lack of water causes mental fog, unclear thoughts, and confusion. Remember that the brain is two-thirds water, and it needs every gram of liquid to function correctly and enrich your life with brilliant ideas and the right choices.
  • Constipation. Mild dehydration is a risk factor(6) of constipation. As liquid improves digestion and the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract, water is essential for good stool and the health of your organs of digestion.

Long term effects of not drinking enough water

When it comes to chronic dehydration results, things get more intense. Some of the dangers include high blood pressure, strokes, increased risks of type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, and heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes. When we don’t get enough liquid, our bodies try to protect us from dehydration by releasing a hormone that suppresses the need to urinate. However, studies(7) show that this hormone can interfere with glucose metabolism. Another research(8) on obese rats has demonstrated that chronic dehydration can cause the same symptoms as the first stages of type 2 diabetes, and they vanish when subjects are rehydrated again.

Clumps and kidney stones. The systematic review(9) of surveys on the link between dehydration and kidney stones showed the lower risks of clumps and kidney problems with increased consumption of liquids and higher chances of kidney stones due to dehydration.

Cardiovascular disease. Studies(10) on young males have discovered that even mild dehydration can affect cardiovascular regulation and cause different heart and cardiovascular diseases.

Five reasons to drink water

If keeping on living is not enough motivation for drinking water instead of tea, coffee, or wine, we’ve gathered a list of five more benefits you will enjoy by quenching your thirst.

Water removes waste from the body.

Proper digestion is impossible without enough water. Constant thirst might lead to stomach discomfort that makes your life less enjoyable. 

Water helps lubricate joints and bones.

Dehydrated people have a more challenging time working out or even being active in general. Imagine our bodies as sponges. Without the proper moisture, we dry up and become brittle. Increase your daily water intake if you’re prone to strained ligaments and tendon rupture.

Water regulates body temperature.

In summer, it keeps us from overheating and suffering the consequences of heat strokes. Drinking liquids is also crucial when you’re doing active sports that make you sweat.

Water improves skin condition.

Dehydrated skin is more prone to acne and premature aging. Opt for a glass of water instead of coffee to smooth the fine lines and postpone the degradation of collagen and elastin fibers in your skin.

Water boosts weight loss.

Opt for water instead of sugary drinks to decrease your calorie intake. However, stopping drinking your calories is not the only way water can help you lose fat. Multiple surveys show that a glass of water before or during a meal helps people feel fuller faster, protecting them from overeating. 

Summing up

Water is the essential element of the human body. Without it, your body won’t function properly, and the long-term consequences of dehydration are severe.

Overconsumption of water is also a stress for your body, so don’t push yourself too hard. You can also opt for foods that are rich in water to normalize your water balance. Find the right amount of liquids you need, and once you do so, you will be amazed at all kinds of improvements in your health and appearance!

Sources

  • Blau J. N., Kell C. A., Sperling J. M. (2004, January). Water-Deprivation Headache: A New Headache with Two Variants. Headache. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2004.04014.x
  • Bollen C., Beikler T. (2012, June). Halitosis: The Multidisciplinary Approach. International Journal of Oral Science. DOI: 10.1038/ijos.2012.39
  • Ganio M. S., Armstrong L. E., Casa D. J., et al. (2011, November). Mild Dehydration Impairs Cognitive Performance and Mood of Men. The British Journal of Nutrition. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114511002005
  • Munoz K. X., Johnson E. C., McKenzie A. L., et al. (2015, September). Habitual Total Water Intake and Dimensions of Mood in Healthy Young Women. Appetite. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.002
  • Zhang N., Du S. M., Zhang J. F., et al. (2019, June). Effects of Dehydration and Rehydration on Cognitive Performance and Mood among Male College Students in Cangzhou, China: A Self-Controlled Trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16111891
  • Arnaud M. J. (2003, December). Mild Dehydration: A Risk Factor of Constipation? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601907
  • Johnson E. C., Bardis C. N., Jansen L. T., et al. (2017, July). Reduced Water Intake Deteriorates Glucose Regulation in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrition Research.  DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.05.004
  • Taveau C., Chollet C., Waeckel L., et al. (2015, May). Vasopressin and Hydration Play a Major Role in the Development of Glucose Intolerance and Hepatic Steatosis in Obese Rats. Diabetologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00125-015-3496-9
  • Xu C., Zhang C., Wang X. L., et al. (2015, July). Self-Fluid Management in Prevention of Kidney Stones: A PRISMA-Compliant Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Medicine (Baltimore). DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001042
  • Watso J. C., Farquhar W. B. (2019, August). Hydration Status and Cardiovascular Function. Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu11081866