When you drink too much water, your kidneys can’t get rid of the excess water. The sodium content of your blood becomes diluted. This is called hyponatremia and it can be life-threatening. If you are wondering how drinking too much water can kill you then, stick around because it’s about to get interesting.
When you drink too much water, you may experience water poisoning, intoxication, or a disruption of brain function. It is advised to take 20 to 28 litre per day. More than that might put you in the danger zone.
In this article, there are possible questions to be answered, this includes:
- How much water should you drink?
- What causes too much water intake?
- What are the symptoms of too much water intake?
- How does drinking too much water kill you?
- How can you control drinking too much water?
How much water should you drink?
Experts believe that about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) of fluids should be taken by men in a day. About 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) of fluids should be by women in a day.
In Nigeria, specialists recommend that males should consume 13 cups (or around 3 litres) of liquids daily. For ladies, they recommend 9 cups (just over 2 litres) of fluid per day. While pregnant women should consume roughly ten glasses of water every day. Breastfeeding mothers require approximately 12 cups.
Drinking enough water offers health benefits, nonetheless, drinking too much water, such as 3-4 litres of water, in a short period leads to water intoxication. For proper metabolism, a normal human body requires about two litres of water.
What causes too much water intake?
The desire to drink too much may be as a result of physical or emotional disease. Excessive thirst may be a symptom of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), which may be due to diabetes. Excessive thirst is a common symptom. Drinking too much water rarely causes over-hydration because normal kidneys easily excrete excess water.
The causes include:
- Mental health
- Exercise and sports
It is feasible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems, or if you’re taking medications that make you retain water, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications.
Excessive thirst can sometimes be a side effect of certain types of medication, including lithium, certain antipsychotics and diuretics (water tablets). If you think a particular medicine is causing your thirst, it may be possible to change to a different medicine or reduce your dose.
Compulsive water drinking or psychogenic polydipsia is now increasingly seen in psychiatric populations. Effects of increased water intake can lead to hyponatremia causing symptoms of nausea, vomiting, seizures, delirium and can even be life threatening if not recognized and managed early.
However, increase in your water intake will promote happiness, allowing your brain to continue making serotonin. The correct amount of serotonin in the brain keeps us happy and stable. And to have enough serotonin in the brain, we must ensure we stay hydrated.
Read more: 7 rules of drinking water the right way
Exercise and sports
Drinking too much during exercise can overwhelm the body’s ability to remove water. The sodium content of blood is diluted to abnormally low levels. Cells absorb excess water, which can cause dangerous swelling in the brain.
Prolonged exercise leads to progressive water and electrolyte loss from the body as sweat is secreted to promote heat loss. The rate of sweating depends on many factors and increases in proportion to work rate and environmental temperature and humidity.
Water requirements during exercise in the heat depend on fluid loss from sweating. Sweat rate is proportional to metabolic rate and can amount to 3 to 4 litres per hour or as much as 10 litres per day.
It’s possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems, or if you’re taking medications that make you retain water, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications
What are the symptoms of too much water intake?
The possible signs of too much water intake include:
- You drink water even if you are not thirsty.
- Your urine is very clear.
- You are suffering from a persistent headache and nausea.
- You wake up several times throughout the night to urinate.
- You have swelling feet, hands, or lips.
- You have low blood sugar.
- You feel disoriented.
- You have unsteady or weak muscles.
- You are continuously exhausted or weary.
How does drinking too much of water kill you?
Scientists proposed that if you drink too much water too rapidly, you dilute the electrolytes in your blood especially the sodium. In severe cases, water intoxication can cause seizures, brain damage, coma, and even death. The bottom line is that drinking too much water can increase the pressure inside the skull.
How can you control drinking too much water?
- By trying to drink no more than about 9–13 cups of fluids per day to avoid over-hydrating.
- By drinking water when you are thirsty and until your urine is light yellow to clear.
As suggested, it is advised to take 20 to 28 litres of water per day. This can prevent over-hydration which can lead to water intoxication. I hope this answers you questions on how drinking too much water can kill you.