Body

Is There Such a Thing as Drinking Too Much Water?

It’s been said that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. But is that the case for water? Is there such a thing as drinking too much?

Different water bottles of various sizes with color background.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, By New Africa

Well, yes. Water is surprisingly among the things you can have too much of. Yes, it has many benefits. It enables our bodies to function and our organs to run properly. So, it’s easy to rationalize that the more of it you drink the more of those benefits you get. But not so fast.

The whole point of this post is to increase awareness and mindfulness. On a medical point of view, let’s consider when too much of something can potentially cause harm.

Just because water is “good” doesn’t mean we should mindlessly force it down our throats, even when we’re not thirsty, until our stomach hurts and we’re running to the bathroom every ten minutes. Drinking too much water is rare but possible.

Here are some health complication to having too much of this good thing.

Complications of Excessive Water Consumption

1. Hyponatremia:
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Your kidneys can expel up to half a liter of water an hour. When you give it more than it can let out, you risk getting hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is having too much water in your system at any given time. Most healthy people will not get Hyponatremia as long as they aren’t drinking several liters of water in one go; which is too much for your kidneys to handle.

So, hyponatremia is having so much water in your system all at once that isn’t being expelled fast enough by your kidneys. Interestingly, there are further complications that stem from this, because a lot of things are connected when it comes to our bodies.

2. Electrolyte Imbalance

Besides the stress on your kidneys, a sudden excessive intake of water may cause a sudden drop in electrolytes, which can be dangerous.

3. Sodium Imbalance

With too much water in your system, your sodium concentration gets diluted; and having enough sodium is important. An adequate amount of sodium prevents the fluid in your blood from moving into your cells, which causes them to swell up.

4. Worsening Heart Health Issues

If you are someone with heart failure, drinking too much water is actually harmful to your health. Heart failure can be acute or severe; either way, it means your heart isn’t pumping enough blood throughout your body. So drinking too much water will put further strain on the heart.

Takeaway

While we don’t want to get dehydrated, overhydration (hyponatremia) is an actual condition. The bottom line is finding that right balance, which we can all do by listening to our bodies. Again, let’s consider when too much of something can potentially cause harm. Let’s be more mindful and aware of our body’s needs.

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