Exercise, warm weather, sweating and insufficient fluid intake can quickly lead to dehydration especially if you are exercising, overweight or at high altitude. Learn to recognize the danger signs and avoid the unhealthy effects dehydration can cause. As an indicator of whether you are drinking enough, urine which should be pale yellow or clear in color.
Lack of fluid in the body means that food passes through the gut more slowly. This allows it to dry out, becoming hard and difficult to move through the colon and expel from the bowel. If you are already constipated, the dehydration effects have already kicked in and drinking fluids will not help. Drinking plenty of water along with a high fiber diet will help prevent further episodes of chronic constipation.
The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board suggests that adults need an average eight cups of water per day. This can come from fluid in your food such as soups, vegetables and fruit juices as well as from drinking water and herbal teas.
However, caffeinated drinks including cola, coffee and tea actually act as diuretics, removing water from the body's cells rather than plumping them up. To avoid dehydration effects, these should all be drunk in moderation along with plenty of water. Alcohol is another fluid that can lead to dehydration as it acts as a diuretic, taking water from the body.
Headaches Caused by Dehydration Effects
When the body is suffering from dehydration effects it means that the body's water content and electrolytes are out of balance. Dehydration can lead to unconsciousness and even death in extreme cases, such as physical activity in extreme heat.
Once the body becomes dehydrated it can trigger a headache or migraine. A common way to tell if your headache is caused by lack of fluid is if there is increased head pain during movement and walking. If this is the case, slowly drink 16-32 ounces of water, take a painkiller if necessary, and lie down until the pain has eased – usually in one to two hours if it is caused by dehydration effects.
Dry Wrinkled Skin
Lack of fluid can cause serious dehydration effects on skin in the long-term. Dehydrated skin generally feels tight and may be dry and flaky with evidence of fine lines. Although it lacks water it may continue to produce oil, which is why even people suffering from oily skin or acne can actually have dehydrated skin. This is because it needs fluid to plump up the cells that create a smoother skin texture. It’s the difference between a fleshy smooth plum and a dried prune, which is shriveled and wrinkled.
To avoid these unnecessary dehydration effects, make sure you always have water available and check that you are drinking those all-important eight cups of fluid a day.