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10 Reasons Why you are Dehydrated

Update Date: Aug 15, 2014 02:51 PM EDT

Dehydration can become a serious health complication. Since the body is made up of mainly water, losing even just a little bit can affect people's physical and mental health. Symptoms of mild dehydration can include mood changes, reduced energy levels and poorer cognitive health. By acknowledging what is causing your dehydration, you can better treat it by nourishing your body with water when needed. Even though the most obvious cause of dehydration is not drinking enough water, there can be many more reasons as well.

Here are 10 surprising causes of dehydration:

1. Diabetes

People suffering from diabetes have a higher risk of dehydration. In diabetics, when blood sugar levels are elevated, the body needs to get rid of the extra glucose and it does so by increasing urine output. When people are using the bathroom more frequently, they lose water at a much faster pace.

2. Women's Menstrual Cycle

For women, the monthly period can cause dehydration. When a woman menstruates, her body's estrogen and progesterone levels can negatively impact the body's water levels. For women with heavier flows, the amount of blood lost can cause dehydration. During this time of the month, women can benefit from drinking an extra glass of water.

3. Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can cause dehydration. Certain drugs increase people's urine output, which increases risk of dehydration. One of the most common drugs that can cause dehydration is blood pressure medication. For people who are unsure whether or not their prescription medications are dehydrating them, looking for side effects such as diarrhea or vomiting can be indicators.

4. Low-Carb Diets

Even though carbohydrates can be fattening, they help retain fluids. Many carbohydrates, such as brown rice and pasta are cooked in water, which means that they provide fluids for the body as well. By cutting carbs, people are also cutting out fluids. For people looking to lose weight by eating fewer carbs, they must remember to stay hydrated and drink more water.

5. Stress

When the body is constantly under stress, the adrenal glands that are responsible for producing the stress hormone can become overworked. When the adrenals become exhausted, it can cause an adrenal insufficiency. Since the adrenal glands are also responsible for producing aldosterone, which is in charge of maintaining the body's fluid levels and electrolytes, exhausted adrenals can lead to dehydration and low electrolyte levels. In this situation, the best way to prevent dehydration is to manage stress levels.

6. Irritable bowel syndrome

Common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are nausea and chronic diarrhea. When the body is excreting at a faster pace, it is also losing a lot more water. People suffering from this syndrome have to remember to stay hydrated.

7. Exercise

Even though people know that drinking water or sports drinks before, during or after workouts is important, people often underestimate how much water they need to stay hydrated. Health experts recommend people to weigh themselves before and after a workout to see how much water weight they lost. They should then drink around 16 to 20 ounces of water per pound.

8. Aging

As people age, many factors can cause dehydration. First, the body's ability to retain water declines. Second, people can start to lose the sensation for thirst as they age. Third, memory complications can cause people to forget to drink water. All factors contribute to an increased risk of dehydration.

9. Alcohol

When people drink one alcoholic beverage after another, they might start going to the bathroom more frequently, which depletes the body of fluids at a faster pace. Alcohol has this effect on the body because it prevents an antidiuretic hormone from sending fluids into the body. Instead, the fluids get sent straight to the bladder. As more water is pushed out of the body, the body can become dehydrated. Some early signs of dehydration are thirst and fatigue.

10. Low Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fluids. When people do not consume the recommended five servings a day in combination with low water intake, they can end up dehydrated. Since consuming fruits and vegetables is healthy overall, people should put more effort in eating those servings.

Understanding the causes of dehydration can help people better prevent it from happening. Dehydration is serious and should not be taken lightly.

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