Staying Hydrated for Urologic Health
As summer rolls in and the temperatures rise, staying well hydrated is even more important. Beyond just quenching your thirst, staying hydrated and drinking water have overarching benefits for your entire body – including your urinary system.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when you have a fluid deficit in your body. Dehydration can be caused by not drinking sufficient fluids or by vomiting, diarrhea, fever, excessive urination or excessive sweat. Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry Mouth
- Dark tinted urine
- Lack of urination or sweating
- Dry Skin
- Increased Heart Rate or Breathing Pattern
Elderly people and children are at the highest risk for dehydration, but adults suffer from dehydration too. It can even put you in the hospital. So, it is important to know how much water to consume on a daily basis. Talk to your urologist about what they suggest, but throw out the previous one-size-fits-all rule of thumb that was to drink 64 fluid ounces a day. See below for more updated guidance. Further, avoid sugary drinks or those with caffeine – water is always your best bet when it comes to staying hydrated.
Dehydration and Urologic Health
According to the American Cancer Society, well hydrated individuals may lower the risk of bladder cancer. Why? Water helps your body function at its highest potential, allowing it to properly break down toxins and carcinogens and flush them out of your body through the urinary system.
If that isn’t enough motivation to stay well hydrated, there is a definitive link between dehydration and urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, kidney infection and even kidney failure – all of which can cause pain and discomfort…or worse.
- UTI: Urinary tract infections are caused when bacteria grows in your bladder. Staying well hydrated allows you to flush out potentially harmful bacteria.
- Kidney Stones: Kidney stones form when there’s not enough fluid to dissolve all of the waste. Crystals begin to form in the kidneys and can be very painful as they pass through the urinary system. Some may even require a procedure like Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) or ureteroscopy. With proper hydration, your kidneys can function properly and lower your risk of kidney stones.
- Kidney Failure: Your kidneys are acutely affected when you’re dehydrated and severe cases of dehydration, when left untreated, can cause irreparable damage.
How to Avoid Dehydration
There is no set amount for how much water you should drink daily. Variables such as weight, age, general health, and activity level all contribute to how much you should hydrate. A good rule of thumb to calculate the number of ounces to drink daily is by taking your weight and multiplying it by 2/3, or 67%. At 180lbs, for example, one should be drinking around 120oz of water a day (180x.67=120.6).
If you believe you are struggling with a urologic condition or would like to talk to a urologist about your urologic health call us for a consultation. USW is composed of three highly experienced urologists that can prevent, diagnose, and treat simple or complex urologic issues.