Why Hydration Is So Important in Urology
As you probably know, the body is composed of 70% water. It’s one of the reasons why we can’t last more than a few days without water, but we can last for weeks without food. You can imagine. Therefore, hydration is key to a healthy body, including a healthy urinary system. But, what exactly does water do for our urinary system, and how do we know we’re getting enough of it?
First, water is critically important for every cell and structure in the body. Water makes everything work better, from bones and cartilage to tendons and muscles. Dehydration affects the brain and body at almost every level.
It passes through our kidneys as we drink water where toxins are removed. It is then sent to the bladder for elimination in the form of urine. Without water, the kidneys cannot do their jobs, work less effectively, and can ultimately even fail. Toxins and waste begin to build up in the kidneys and throughout the body. Kidney stones are more likely to develop. Dehydration can also lead to renal hypertension or high blood pressure within the kidneys, which can cause significant, often permanent, injury. Remember, however, that your doctor may suggest limiting fluids if you have kidney damage or failure.
Hydration also affects the bladder. An adequately hydrated individual may urinate up to six times a day, and that urine should be clear and straw-colored. Anything darker shows a lack of hydration. Ultimately white urine may indicate overhydration. Dehydration and the concentrated urine it produces may irritate the bladder, causing irritation, inflammation, pain, and a urinary tract infection or UTI. You may find yourself needing to go to the bathroom more frequently, but there’s not much urine output, and the urine is very dark.
How To Make Sure You’re Hydrated
First, make sure that you’re drinking about 8 cups or more of water each day. That’s about 64 ounces. As a rough guide, you should be urinating 46 times per day. You would likely need to drink more if you have sunburn, live in a very hot or frigid climate, or are very active and sweating a lot.
When you are getting your hydration for the day, make sure you drink it slowly throughout the day. I’m drinking more than a few ounces at a time gets flushed out of your system, and the hydration benefits do not remain.
Follow your thirst. If you feel thirsty, you are already hydrated. So, have a glass of water at the first sign of thirst. You may be tempted to have a snack, but you need some water more than likely.
Remember that caffeinated drinks and alcohol do not count fully toward your hydration needs. Yes, you are consuming liquid, but these are also diuretics that flush water out of your body.
Don’t forget you can also get hydrated from the food you eat. Vegetables, fruits, and more all have hydration value.
If you have any questions about your lower urinary tract symptoms or believe you are suffering from the consequences of dehydration, we encourage you to visit Dr. Engel. It is essential to understand that there are several possible reasons for dark urine and other symptoms of dehydration, so be sure to visit a qualified urologist appointment for a proper diagnosis.