Although we’ve been constantly reminded to drink enough water to stay hydrated since childhood, drinking more can be dangerous.
Doctors recommend adults to drink around 64 ounces of water daily, while other sources suggest 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women daily.
So, is 4 liters of water a day too much? Not exactly. Drinking 4 liters of water daily is not too much, especially if you exercise a lot.
However, if you are forcibly taking the water even when you don’t feel thirsty, it could be a problem.
Drinking excess water can lead to water intoxication with symptoms like headaches and drowsiness. If the condition worsens, it can lead to brain damage, coma, or death.
What's in this Guide?
What are the Dangers of Drinking Too Much Water?
Overhydration is dangerous to your health and can cause a lot of complications. Discussed below are some of the side effects of drinking too much water.
- Causes hyponatremia
Hyponatremia is the decrease of sodium levels in the blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water in and around your cells.
In hyponatremia, sodium in your body becomes diluted, making your body’s water levels to rise. As a result, your cells begin to swell.
The swelling can cause numerous health problems, some life-threatening.
- May cause diarrhea
Overhydration can result in prolonged sweating and diarrhea. This is usually caused by a decrease in potassium ions or hypokalemia.
- Overburdens the kidney
Consuming too much water can lead to acute kidney injury. It puts pressure on your kidneys, forcing them to function constantly.
Remember, the kidneys can only filter about a liter of fluid per hour from your body. Beyond that, they have to work extra hard to maintain balance.
- Frequent Urination
Imagine you are at work or school but have to visit the restroom to pee every 15 minutes; frustrating, right?
When you drink a lot of water, your kidneys constantly remove excess water and maintain homeostasis. As a result, you will have to rush to the toilet frequently.
- Potential risk of coma
The brain damage that your body goes through from water intoxication can lead to seizures, coma, and in some instances, death.
Therefore, avoid drinking too much water at a go.
How Will You Know That You Are Drinking Too Much Water?
You can tell that you are drinking too much water if:
- Your urine is clear
According to Healthline, amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration. Pale-yellow urine, on the other hand, indicates a healthy dehydration level.
If you check your urine and realize it is colorless, you need to reduce your water intake. Colorless urine indicates that you are overhydrated.
- You experience nausea
Drinking too much water can also result in lingering headaches and nausea.
- You urinate frequently
According to Medical News Today, most individuals urinate 6 to 7 times a day. If you find yourself urinating 10+ times, you might be drinking too much water.
However, note that some conditions like urinary tract infections, pelvic floor weakness, and diabetes can also cause frequent urination.
It is, therefore, advisable to talk to your doctor if unsure of the cause of the frequent urination.
- You have swollen hands, feet, or lips
Another sign that you could be drinking too much water is swelling in the feet, hands, or lips. This is caused by low levels of sodium in your blood.
Sometimes, the cells in your face tissues feel or appear puffy if you are overhydrated.
- You have Weak muscles
Overhydration can cause muscle weakness, cramps, or spasms. If you notice shakiness in your legs and arms that is not related to physical exertion, it could indicate that you are overly hydrated.
- You constantly feel tired
If you feel tired even after getting enough sleep, you could be overhydrated. Drinking too much water can result in a constant feeling of fatigue because of electrolyte imbalance.
Try reducing your daily water intake to ascertain whether overhydration is the reason for the lingering fatigue.
Is it okay to drink 4 liters of water daily?
An average person is supposed to drink 3 to 4 liters of water daily, especially if highly active. So, it is okay to drink 4 liters of water daily.
What is more hydrating than water?
Milk is more hydrating than water.
What are the benefits of drinking 4 liters of water every day?
The benefits of drinking 4 liters of water daily include:
- Kidney stone prevention
- Better hydration
- Headaches prevention and relieve
- Strengthened physical performance
- Mood improvement