Hydration is key for many bodily functions, including cognition and physical well-being. It's not hard to stay hydrated—water is cheap, plentiful, and accessible in many forms. Yet, despite the medical community's general agreement that it's essential, many of us struggle to get our fluids in each day. This article will explore why you might be struggling to get hydrated and what steps you can take to fix it.
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention, but even moderate dehydration can interfere with your ability to think and move around. It can also lead to a variety of health problems, such as seizures and hypovolemic shock, explains MedlinePlus. Severe dehydration can occur when you lose more than 10 percent of your body weight in fluids. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including exercise, illness, and hot weather.
Drinking water is the best way to hydrate, but other beverages and foods can help too. Fruit juice, coconut water, tea, coffee, and sports drinks can all rehydrate you quickly. Just make sure to avoid too much caffeine, which may cause you to urinate more frequently and can actually dehydrate you in the long run.
Other reasons you might feel dehydrated despite chugging lots of water include a sore throat or mouth, extreme exercise, or being sick to your stomach. In the latter case, you'll need to drink a lot of fluids to replace lost electrolytes, says Northwestern Medicine. You can also be dehydrated if you're taking certain medications, such as laxatives, antihistamines, diuretics, antacids, or blood pressure medication.