Drinking Too Much Water? Know 5 side effects of overhydration

‘Drink enough water’ is something we all grew up listening to. The importance of water and hydration needs no introduction. It maintains the water balance of the body and helps in flushing out toxins, thereby providing complete nutrition. But do you know that drinking too much water can have negative effects on our body? You heard us “Drinking more water than normal increases your total blood volume and also forces your kidneys to work overtime to filter excess water from your circulatory system,” says Parmeet Kaur, senior dietician at Narayana Hospital, Gurugram. To be.” It can overload the heart, increase heartburn and cause water intoxication.

Read also: drink hot water before sleeping to stay healthy

What is water intoxication?

According to experts, water intoxication is a condition caused by drinking too much water. It disturbs the electrolyte balance in the body and can lower the sodium level in the blood, leading to a condition called hyponatremia.

What are the symptoms of water intoxication or extreme dehydration?

Common symptoms of hyponatremia due to intoxication are:


People who drink more water often become drowsy and feel like vomiting due to electrolyte imbalance in the body.


People experience throbbing headaches throughout the day. Due to excess water in the body, the level of salt in the body goes down and the cells swell, due to which Headache,


Drinking too much water makes your kidneys work too hard to remove the excess. This can make people feel tired and distracted at times.

Skin discoloration:

With overhydration, you’ll notice swelling or discoloration in the feet, hands, and lips. Basically, along with the inflammation of the cells, you may also experience some swelling in your skin.

Read also: Why should not drink water immediately after eating

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How much water is too much water?

Health experts and nutritionists suggest that our daily water intake depends on various factors including age, gender, body weight, activity level, metabolism and medication. In fact, the water intake level also depends on our environmental conditions.

How much water should be drunk in a day?

The Institute of Medicine has established guidelines for adequate water intake, stating that — on average, a healthy adult should drink about nine to 13 cups of fluid per day.

Here are 5 side effects of drinking too much water:

1. Hyponatremia:

As mentioned earlier, drinking more water can lower the sodium levels in the body. This health condition is called hyponatremia. People with heart and kidney conditions are termed to be at higher risk of hyponatremia.

2. Muscle Cramps:

A study published in BMJ states that consuming more water dilutes sodium and other electrolytes in the blood, thereby reducing sodium status in the body. Low sodium levels in the body can further lead to health issues like muscle Twitch,

3. Frequent urination:

Excessive water intake leads to excessive urination; Meaning, when you consume a lot of water, the kidney works continuously. This further dehydrates the body and creates water imbalance. Also, studies show that frequent urination puts a strain on our kidneys.

4. Effects on Liver:

Water, which often has a high iron content, can negatively affect the liver. We know that the body needs iron to transport oxygen in the blood. We generally get iron from food which is easily absorbed by the body; However, it is the exact opposite of water. The body cannot easily absorb iron from water, which further affects liver health.

5. Diarrhoea:

Overhydration leads to hypokalemia, or decreased potassium levels in the body. This can cause diarrhea and prolonged sweating. According to a report on the Cleveland Clinic’s website, hypokalemia often directly affects our digestive system, causing problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

How long does it take to recover from overhydration?

Recovery from overhydration depends largely on the severity of the symptoms. If the level of water poisoning is high, then a health expert should be consulted for proper guidance and medication. And always remember, moderation is the key!

Disclaimer: This content provides general information only including advice. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult an expert or your own physician for more details. NDTV does not take responsibility for this information.

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