Do you know how to tell when you’re dehydrated? Did you know that your body gives you subtle hints to let you know you need water? I mean besides that I’m freakin’ thirsty feeling, or that Oh my God, my pee is brown discovery.
There are many ways in which your body may be telling you that you’re running low on water but you may not be aware of them. Here are some things to look out for.
Bad Breath. That’s right, halitosis. When we don’t hydrate properly, the body can inhibit the production of saliva. Saliva has antibacterial properties and without it, bacteria overgrowth can occur in your mouth which can cause bad breath.
Cravings for food or sweets. Food cravings occur because when you’re dehydrated it becomes difficult for your body to release glycogens and other energy stores, therefore, you get cravings. You could crave chocolate or salt but cravings for sweets are most common.
Muscle Cramps. Many years ago I woke up in the middle of the night with the most intense pain in my calves. I was certain I had cancer. I mean, what else could it have been, right?
I needed water. I was seriously dehydrated. Of course I didn’t know that muscle cramps were a symptom of dehydration but my doctor gladly informed me of this a few hundred dollars later. Muscle cramps can be caused by an electrolyte imbalance but muscles can also seize up just from the heat. The hotter you get and the more you sweat, the more likely you are to suffer from muscle cramps.
Dry Skin. If you’re skin has suddenly become drier than it normally is, this is a pretty good indication that you could be dehydrated. And don’t be so quick to blame it on the weather because you can still get dehydrated in the winter.
Headaches. Your brain is surrounded by fluid which keeps it from bumping into your skill. If you’re dehydrated it’s quite possible for your brain to push against parts of the skull and cause headaches. If you experience headaches after a hard workout, you may want to take a look at how you’re hydrating.
Fever or chills. This is actually pretty serious. You may actually have a fever if you have chills. If you have a fever of over 101°F, get immediate medical attention. It’s very dangerous.
Besides those symptoms, there is another way to tell if you’re dehydrated. It’s a trick I use pretty much every day and I call it the pinch test. Use your pointer finger and your thumb to grab a chunk of skin from the back of your hand. Pinch together a section of skin from the knuckle to the wrist. Pull it up for a few seconds and then let it go. If the skin doesn’t go back to its normal position in a second or two, you could be dehydrated.
I don’t know about you but I prefer the pinch test over checking for brown pee any day!
Do you have a tendency to get dehydrated?
What steps do you take to prevent dehydration during exercise?