Believe it or not, drinking too much water can cause a number of serious or even life-threatening medical conditions, and drinking in excess also wastes resources. In fact, the body limits the amount of water that it needs any given point in time, and excess amounts are filtered through the kidneys before being expelled in our urine. However, only a limited amount of water can be processed per hour, and any excess can back up in the body and become dangerous. Here are a few general indicators that you may be drinking too-much water and why it’s something to be concerned about.
Peeing clear water is a sign that your body has more than enough fluid. Urine that is slightly yellow is the ideal shade to look for, and this is a good indicator that the body is properly hydrated. Adjust intake levels until this color is present and consistent throughout the day. Along similar lines, frequent urination, particularly when the urine is clear or very light yellow, is a strong indication that the body has too much water inside.
Lack of Thirst
Thirst is such an ingrained survival impulse that most of us feel parched by default, and the total absence of thirst or the desire to drink can indicate that we’ve already had enough. If you know that you’ve been drinking plenty of fluid throughout the day, and you’re not thirsty, then there’s no reason to drink more at that time.
People who drink too many fluids tend to develop persistent, throbbing headaches that can last all day long. One of the problems associated with drinking too much is that our potassium and sodium levels drop, and this is bad for the body. The body warns us by giving us headaches that are usually relieved by increasing our nutrient intake to offset the imbalance.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and feeling bloated can also indicate that you’ve had too much water as fluid starts to back up in the digestive system. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common as the body seeks to expel water however it can.
As tissues absorb more and more moisture, swelling will occur throughout the body. The most dramatic swelling usually occurs in the lower legs, feet and hands, but the face can also puff up considerably. These are usually signs of a severe level of saturation that should be addressed by a medical professional, but limiting consumption and taking some sodium and potassium can help to remove this buildup over time.
Remember that the kidneys can only process about a liter of water an hour, and serious damage can occur if they are under stress for prolonged periods of time due to over-saturation. It’s also important to remember that our bodies are not designed to store water, so drinking in excess for use later is counter-productive as well.