10 Signs You're Dehydrated Even if You're Not Thirsty

10 Signs You're Dehydrated Even if You're Not Thirsty

Mar 1st 2023

Signs of dehydration can come in many different forms. Even if you don't feel the need to drink a glass of water, your body can demonstrate dehydration symptoms in other ways besides your typical thirsty feeling. Recognizing these signs can help you stay hydrated as much as possible to replenish your body, feel in top shape, and improve healthy habits.

Take a look at the following 10 signs of dehydration and learn how to tell if you're dehydrated.

1. Headache

A headache is one of the most obvious signs of your body not receiving enough water. We often tie headaches together with stress, lack of sleep, or working hard during the day. While these everyday activities can cause a typical tension headache, dehydration headaches can happen, too.

The science behind dehydration headaches is fascinating. When the body does not receive enough fluids throughout the day, brain tissue begins to shrink and contract. When the brain minimizes in size from dehydration, it pulls away from the skull and places more pressure on the nerves in your head. These nerves can cause increased pain from insufficient support from the brain's complete size.

You can typically tell you are dehydrated when you experience the following:

  • Pain only in the head — unlike migraines and tension headaches that can cause discomfort in the neck and shoulders.
  • The headache goes away with proper fluid intake and rest.

While this dehydration symptom can sound slightly scary, getting the proper hydration can help. Make sure to drink 11.5 to 15.5 cups of water each day to minimize the effects of dehydration headaches.

2. Brain Fog

While your brain can shrink from lack of water, it can also function poorly without these essential fluids in your body. Without water, the brain must work harder to complete daily tasks that you could typically perform efficiently when fully hydrated.

One study found that brain fog is one of the most noticeable symptoms of dehydration because a lack of fluids can cause an increase in neuronal activation in the brain. This change in cognitive function means your mind takes longer to make decisions or take action. You may also experience fatigue and mood swings.

The same study also discovered that dehydration could lead to other symptoms, including impairments in attention, motor skills, coordination, and executive function. These skills help complete tasks at work and prepare for the days ahead. So, do yourself a favor and drink the proper portions of water throughout the day so your mind is always in top shape.

3. Dizziness

If you have ever gone through the day only taking sips of water at a time, you may have noticed that your movements are slower or your coordination is shakier than usual. These motor skill changes can be dehydration symptoms that impact your daily routine.

Dizziness is a common sign of dehydration due to the impact of a lack of fluids on your blood pressure. When the body does not receive enough water, our blood volume decreases, causing low blood pressure. Our bodies react to low blood pressure by experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, and, in some cases, extreme vertigo.

To feel less dizzy and help keep your blood pressure levels balanced, move slowly to avoid injury and drink the proper amount of water throughout the day.

4. Sugar Cravings

Many enjoy splurging on a dessert after dinner or ordering a latte before work. However, cravings for a sugary treat may not be signs of a sweet tooth. Symptoms of dehydration can cause a craving for sugar due to the impact of fluid intake on our bloodstream and energy levels.

Our blood has a natural balance of water and sugar to provide the body with the energy we need to make decisions, move from one destination to another, and get a good night's sleep at the end of the day. When we do not drink enough water, our bloodstream consists of more sugar than fluids, creating a sugar craving that continues to boost blood glucose levels. The typical balance of glucose and fluid levels helps limit these cravings.

Those with diabetes should drink more fluids to create the proper balance of blood sugar and water. To avoid intense sugar cravings, try drinking a glass of water before reaching for any sweet treats or sugary drinks.

5. Fatigue

Similar to the connection between proper hydration and level glucose levels, your body can also feel fatigued without fluids circulating through your bloodstream. One of the best benefits of drinking water we can notice throughout the day is its ability to increase energy levels.

While water does not directly supply energy to the body since it does not have any calories, drinking water does help with regulating body temperature and increasing blood flow to the brain. These two benefits together can make you feel replenished and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Without enough water to support blood flow and body temperature, there are unbalanced fluid levels within the body, leading to feelings of slow thoughts and movements. Chronic dehydration can lead to extreme fatigue, where everyday activities become challenging.

By hydrating with the recommended amount of water daily, you can rejuvenate your mind and body to accomplish your daily goals and feel energized each morning.

6. Bad Breath

Many individuals wake up from a good night's sleep with remnants of morning breath. While this common sign of being well-rested is average for most individuals, bad breath throughout the day can also indicate that your body is not receiving enough fluids. Brushing your teeth and being on top of proper oral hygiene can help put a stop to this everyday occurrence, but hydrating your body can help rid you of bad breath while replenishing your organs, mind, and skin.

Dehydration and dry mouth are often related to one another for a simple reason — the body does not have enough water to function correctly. A dry mouth is one of the signs of severe dehydration because we cannot produce a healthy amount of saliva to hydrate the mouth. Saliva is a vital component of a healthy mouth, which explains why dehydration can cause bad breath.

Bad breath is only one problem that a dry mouth from dehydration can cause. Extreme lack of fluids can also lead to:

  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Dry lips
  • A sore or burning mouth
  • Changes in sense of taste
  • Mouth infections
  • Not being able to speak, eat, or swallow easily

7. Dry Skin

Our skin plays a unique role in communicating the body's needs through the glow and smoothness of its texture. During the winter months, we tend to notice more cracking or flaking skin from the lack of moisture in the air compared to the other seasons. If your skin continues to show dryness throughout the year, this texture difference might be one of the signs of dehydration.

Water hydrates the body's skin cells so wrinkles appear less and the skin appears to glow. When our skin becomes healthier from regular hydration, we can withstand changes from climate and age with ease from the skin's elasticity. Without water supporting the skin's functions, dry skin can lead to other health issues.

While dehydration is not the only cause of dry skin, you can maintain your skin's health by drinking the appropriate amount of water each day and prioritizing your sleep schedule to minimize water loss.

8. Dark Urine

When using the bathroom, you may have noticed in the past that urine can change colors, odors, and quantity. These fluctuating changes are excellent indicators of your hydration levels.

One of the easiest ways you can test for dehydration is by observing the odors and shades of your urine. Each trip to the bathroom can show different results, so make sure to track these factors each time to get the best idea of how much water you need to drink.

Use the following guidelines for finding your hydration levels from urine findings:

  1. Hydrated: If your urine is a pale shade of yellow that is almost clear and has no odor, you are on the right track to drinking enough water each day. The lighter your urine and the less odor you notice, the more water you are putting in your body. Pat yourself on the back and keep doing what you are doing if this is normal for most bathroom breaks.
  2. Mildly hydrated: Light to medium shades of yellow and a slight odor indicate a higher level of hydration that could improve. You should still try to drink an additional glass or more each day if these signs are common during your bathroom breaks, but you are on the right track to the proper amount of hydration.
  3. Dehydrated: Medium shades of yellow urine that produce a more pungent odor are signs of your body being dehydrated. Your water levels are lower than average, and your body indicates the need for more fluids through these two factors. If you notice these darker shades in your urine with more odor, try to drink more glasses of water throughout the rest of your day.
  4. Very dehydrated: One of the signs of severe dehydration is dark yellow, strong-smelling urine. These factors typically indicate that you are not drinking water or taking only a few sips throughout the day. Make sure to drink the recommended 11.5-15.5 cups of water daily to hydrate your body properly.

9. Constipation

To understand how water supports your body's functions, consider the fluids as the lubrication for a bike chain. The bike itself can look great, but without a working, lubricated bike chain, it has a much more challenging time getting moving. The water we put into our bodies works similarly, where hydration is the lubrication for the chain that helps us move, keep our minds sharp, and digest the foods we enjoy most.

Without the proper hydration, the digestion process can become slower or stop altogether. Water helps break down numerous internal particles, including food. When our food is ready to digest, the water we drink aids in making stool softer so the digestive system can complete its processes easier.

Not getting enough fluids into our bodies causes stool to absorb the leftover water in the digestive system, which leads to constipation or longer bathroom breaks.

You can help make each bathroom break quick and easy by drinking the recommended cups of water each day to prevent constipation and other digestive issues.

10. Rapid Heart Rate and Breathing

If you have ever been sitting at your desk at work or lounging around at home and noticed your heart beating faster than usual, you may be showing signs of dehydration. Rapid heart rates and heavy breathing are typical signs of exercising or moving at a quicker rate than usual. However, fluctuations in heart rate and breathing while relaxing can indicate that your body is not receiving enough water.

Hydration, your heart, and your blood work simultaneously to keep your organs functioning throughout the day. When the body does not get the proper amount of water, the blood volume that circulates our internal systems decreases, causing the heart to pick up the slack by increasing the beats per minute. Our blood pressure will also increase, which can cause blood to thicken and take more time to circulate in the body.

To avoid these changes to vital bodily processes and internal organs, always remember to prioritize drinking water throughout the day.

Stay Hydrated With a Multipure Drinking Water System: For Life. For You.

Hydration starts with replenishing your body with cleaner water that gives you the energy, focus, and coordination you need each day. At Multipure, we prioritize providing the resources you need to accomplish these daily goals. Our drinking water systems minimize contaminants that come from your faucets, so you and the rest of your family members can hydrate with the proper amount of water each day.

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