6 Common Causes of Dehydration

Cindy Wilson Thumb by Cindy Wilson
BS, Nutrition & Food Science

Dehydration, which ranges from mild to severe, is a phenomenon where your body experiences insufficient water and electrolytes. Certain athletes, older adults, infants, construction workers, and employees who are constantly exposed outdoors may suffer from dehydration. Also, these individuals have a higher chance of being dehydrated than others.

Fortunately, this condition may be corrected at home with proper dehydration management. For instance, you may replace the lost water with fluids, clear broths, oral rehydration alternatives, or with a sports drink. Other beverages such as coffee, tea, and sodas should be avoided if you’re experiencing this condition since these are diuretics, which may pull more water from your body.

When your body loses too much water, the organs, cells, and tissues may decrease their efficiency. That’s why, with severe cases, dehydration needs to be treated in emergency care areas. If this cannot be treated directly, dehydration may result in other risky complications.

The Common Causes of Dehydration

Dehydration may stem from excessive sweating and urination down to certain illnesses. Here are the usual causes of dehydration.

1. Excessive Sweating

Perspiration is a bodily function that aids in managing your body temperature. It’s also the excretion of salt-based fluid from your sweat glands.

Your body commonly sweat due to various factors, such as changes in body temperature, hot and humid weather, or even your emotional state. However, when you begin to sweat excessively, your body loses large amounts of water. When this is not immediately replaced, it may result in dehydration.

For this reason, it’s essential to replenish your body with fluids when performing extraneous activities or when the weather is too hot. Doing so brings back the balance of water and electrolytes in your body.

2. Fever

Fever is identified as an elevated body temperature (above 98°F) that can stem from different health concerns, such as a common cold, infections (viral and bacterial), influenza, or gastroenteritis.

When you have a fever, you commonly experience increased sweating. This situation may then result in fluid and electrolyte loss. In turn, this may lead you to consume less fluid due to feeling sick. These scenarios may contribute to dehydration.

Moreover, individuals with fever may have less motivation or interest to drink fluids. Severe cases may even result in hospitalization. With this, it’s advisable to consume water-enriched food as it may replenish the loss of fluids. Healthy meal kits, fruit boxes, and the like are easily accessible and may aid in recovery.

3. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea is a stomach discomfort that often occurs prior to vomiting. On the other note, vomiting is defined as forcibly expelling the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Both nausea and vomiting are symptoms of many possible conditions. This may include motion sickness, early stages of pregnancy, anxiety, and more.

When you’re experiencing nausea, you may have difficulty consuming fluids. At the same time, when you’re continuously vomiting, you may also lose water instantly. A compendium of these situations may result in dehydration.

4. Diarrhea

This is a common sickness that may affect anyone. It can be caused by viral, bacterial, or infection. Diarrhea may also be a sign of an underlying health condition.

When not treated immediately, sudden and detrimental diarrhea may cause massive loss of water and electrolytes in a short duration. Due to this, the body won’t have sufficient fluid for it to function optimally.

Additionally, diarrhea prevents the large intestines to absorb water from food. It may also cause the kidney to shut down, which may bring forth more problems other than organ failure.

5. Frequent Urination

Recurrent urination may become inconvenient as you continuously make trips to the bathroom. This condition may also be a symptom of various health concerns–from illnesses and pregnancy to simply consuming too much water.

The consumption of coffee, tea, and other mild diuretics may lead to frequent urination and, at the same time, may allow you to develop dehydration. Likewise, specific prescriptions and some blood pressure medications may also result in persistent urination.

Hence, with all of these, it’s important to track and identify the cause of your persistent urination. When you already determined where it stems from, this may help you address the problem immediately before other issues may arise.

6. Diabetes

Having untreated diabetes poses more risks of developing dehydration. Excessive thirst and increased urination are usual symptoms of diabetes. When you have this illness, high amounts of glucose may accumulate in your blood. This may compel your kidneys to work more efficiently to filter and regulate the excess glucose.

When your kidneys can no longer maintain this, the excess glucose may be released through urine. This will bind and excrete along with other fluids from the tissues. In turn, this may result in feelings of thirst. However, as you consume more fluids to compensate for the thirst, you’ll continuously urinate more, which will lead to dehydration.

Additionally, diabetes insipidus, which is also called water diabetes, adds a greater risk of developing dehydration. This is different from the common type of diabetes and this doesn’t involve high blood glucose issues. This is an illness that’s commonly identified by increased thirst and urination.

How Much Water Should I Consume Daily?

How Much Water Should I Consume Daily

Due to all of these conditions, it’s important to replenish your body with plenty of fluid and food to balance out the water and electrolytes in your system. However, the common question, is how much water should be consumed to avoid dehydration?

Your body constantly loses water throughout the day. This is majorly because of perspiration and urine secretion. It’s also due to normal body functions, such as breathing.

The amount of water that you need is influenced by a lot of factors, such as your diet, your daily activity, the climate in your area, the current season, etc. Also, water consumption may vary for each individual. For adults, the general recommendation from The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is about:

  • 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women
  • 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men

This covers fluids from food and other beverages. Take note that you may acquire an average of 20% of fluid from the food you consume daily.

The Takeaway

In addition to being a condition that’s caused by various factors, dehydration may also affect anyone. However, all of these may be prevented when we balance out the lost fluids by drinking more water.

It’s pertinent to make sure that you’re consuming the sufficient amount of fluid your body needs daily. This may help you stay healthy and will allow you to function at your best.

Thus, heads up and quench that thirst!

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Nutrition and Food Science (Colorado State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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