9 Signs You’re Probably Not Drinking Enough Water

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**Drink More Water: The Importance of Staying Hydrated**

We’ve heard it. We get it. We know! But it’s not just overplayed advice from fitness magazines and your mother. When we get dehydrated our bodies send out clear warning signs that we need to check our fluid levels. If that happens, it’s important to do everything to get your hydration level back on track.

Here are some of the symptoms associated with not drinking enough water:

**Lotion ain’t cutting it**
It’s normal for our skin to change with the seasons. While summer months bring normal to oily skin, by winter, our skin seems dull and lifeless. According to the Dermalogica website, dry skin lacks sebum, commonly referred to as simply oil. It should respond to the application of oil-rich products. In these situations, applying plenty of moisturizer is often enough to improve the situation. But dehydrated skin is another story. If, at any point in the year, your skin stays dry and chapped despite being slathered in healing lotions, you may want to grab a drink of water — or several. When skin loses its luster due to dehydration, all it desperately needs is to be watered!

**Dry, sticky, and thirsty!**
It seems so obvious. Dry mouth and a sticky tongue equals dehydration. But so many people reach for a pack of gum or a piece of candy before they reach for a glass of water. The Mayo Clinic tells us that being excessively thirsty is actually a symptom that you’ve been dehydrated for a while. When thirst or dry mouth hits, grab a glass and start replenishing any lost fluids. And according to Colgate, desert-like conditions in your mouth can cause a serious case of bad breath. It’s worth mentioning, however, that a dry mouth and increased thirst can be a sign of something more serious. The National Health Services website will tell you that if your symptoms haven’t improved after a few days of focused rehydration, it might be time to see your doc or your dentist.

**Pounding head**
We’ve all been there. Your head is throbbing and, with each passing minute, you can feel it getting worse. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything, and your patience begins to run thin. Fortunately, drinking more water could be enough to not only prevent these painful episodes, but also cure them. According to the National Headache Foundation, headaches are actually a common sign that someone is experiencing mild to moderate dehydration. In fact, an inadequate intake of water can trigger a migraine! The NHF suggests drinking only water when experiencing headaches and avoiding sugary or overly salty sports beverages, which can worsen dehydration.

**”Ahh!” Weight without the water**
Believe it or not, an expanding waistline can be a sign that you aren’t drinking enough water. A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that drinking as little as 500 milliliters, or about 17 ounces, of water can boost your metabolism by up to 30 percent. No wonder all of our fitness and beauty magazines keep telling us to drink more water! Along those same lines, dehydrating can be one big mixed signal for your body. Alissa Rumsey, Registered Dietician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Health magazine, “Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when really your body just needs fluids.” A tip from Shape magazine says that drinking one to two glasses before mealtime can fill you up and prevent you from eating when your body just needs more hydration.

**Moving things along**
Things moving slowly… down there? You just might need to increase your water intake. Just one look at WebMd will tell you that dehydration is a leading cause of chronic constipation. Biologically speaking, your body needs fluids in order to pass waste through your digestive tract, so if you haven’t had enough to drink, things are going to get a little backed up. So start drinking throughout the day and you should begin to experience some relief. If not, check with your medical professional just in case something else is going on.

**You’ve had a UTI**
Anyone who has ever had a urinary tract infection, or UTI, will probably say that it was one of the most uncomfortable, unpleasant experiences of their life. UTIs are caused by a variety factors but often arise after bacteria has entered our bodies through sexual intercourse or failing to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. But there’s one other possibility: dehydration. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking water helps to flush bacteria from our bladders, thus preventing infection from setting in. Some warning signs that our water intake is too low include dark colored urine or a decreased need to urinate at all. Of course, if it feels like you’ve got an infection, drink your water, and please don’t wait to see a medical professional.

**You feel irritable and moody**
In a bad mood? This may shock you, but a simple glass of water might be all you need to turn things around. A research study published by the Journal of Nutrition and cited by CNN found that just mild dehydration can lead to neurological changes that affect our ability to focus and can cause irritability. Even more shocking is that you only need to be 1 percent below your optimal level of hydration to feel these negative effects. So, next time you’re feeling cranky and can’t understand why, pour yourself a nice tall glass of water — or two! — and let the good feels wash over you.

**You’re having muscle cramps**
Having muscle cramps can be annoying, frustrating, and painful. Typically, people will try stretching or using massage techniques to relieve their symptoms, but what you really need might be much simpler. While there is some disagreement on this, the same article from CNN points out that there may be a relationship between dehydration and muscle cramping. Dr. Ray Casciari, medical director of the La Amistad Family Health Center explains that our blood circulation slows down when we don’t drink enough water. He says, “The body will protect its vital organs, so it shifts fluid away from muscles and anything that’s not vital.” Things can be exacerbated further if our sodium and potassium levels begin to change due to sweat loss. This is why it’s crucial that we consume enough water every day, but especially in hot weather and when we’re exercising.

**How much water?**
There are so many different opinions when it comes to knowing how much water we need to consume each day. We’ve all heard the standard eight 8-ounce glasses a day advice. But the Mayo Clinic reveals that we should be focused on gender and size-based requirements for optimal health. For example, a six-foot-five man might feel that eight glasses a day isn’t enough, while a four-foot-ten woman might feel it’s too much. The Institute of Medicine’s adequate intake guidelines indicate that 13 cups for men and nine cups for women is sufficient. Obviously, if you’re sweating, increase your intake accordingly and use common sense. If it feels like you’ve had enough water, respect your body. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you’re probably already mildly dehydrated.

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