How to Fix Overhydration

June 1, 2023

Drinking water is important for maintaining healthy hydration. However, drinking too much water can cause a dangerous condition called overhydration or hyperhydration (water intoxication). Overhydration occurs when the body consumes more water than it can excrete. This leads to a buildup of water in the body and a decrease in sodium levels. This can lead to a range of symptoms including headache, nausea, and even confusion. Severe overhydration can also cause vomiting, weakness, and seizures and requires emergency medical care.

Swollen hands and feet are one of the most common signs of overhydration. This is because too much water causes the cells in your body to swell up due to diluted sodium levels. The good news is that this symptom typically clears up within a few hours of reducing your fluid intake.

Another symptom of overhydration is muscle cramps or spasms. This is because diluted sodium levels in the body lead to an imbalance between water and electrolytes, which can cause muscles to cramp. If you are consuming more than 12 glasses of water per day and are experiencing these symptoms, it is recommended that you reduce your fluid intake and see a doctor.

If you are an endurance athlete who is concerned about overhydration, you can speak to your physician or sports nutritionist to get specific hydration advice tailored to your needs. In general, it is recommended that you consume 14-22 oz of fluid two to three hours before exercise or physical activity and only drink water if thirsty. You can also supplement your hydration with sports beverages or electrolyte supplements to help replace the sodium lost through sweating.


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