Fifty Shades of…Pee — Are You Dehydrated?

April 9, 2020   Pelvic Health

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Now more than ever, it’s important that we keep our bodies hydrated.

Proper hydration (six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day) not only supports our immune system, but it helps with mental cognition, promotes cardiovascular health, improves the skin, and keeps our body temperature low. From an immune system perspective, water helps to carry oxygen to the cells in our bodies and removes toxins that could otherwise have a negative impact on the immune system.

The need for water varies tremendously and could depend on humidity, air temperature, and your level of activity.

How do we know if we are sufficiently hydrated? Believe it or not, the color of your urine can be a telltale sign. The color variation guide below can be your resource.

If it's clear..

You may be overdoing it. Drinking water every day is very important, and you should never restrict drinking if you are thirsty and have already consumed the recommended amount. However, if you’re urinating multiple times throughout the hour, you’re probably drinking too much H20. Although we applaud you for your diligence, maybe take a little break. There are significant medical risks to chronically drinking too much liquid, so balance is important.

Keep in mind, the frequency of your pee trips can also be attributed to your age, certain medications you might be taking, learned behaviors about peeing, the size of your bladder, etc.  Also, if you believe you have chronic, excessive thirst, be sure to mention that to your provider as it could be attributed to a medical problem.

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If it's light yellow (like lemonade)...

You’re in the optimal hydration range; keep it up!

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If it's an amber shade...

It’s time to increase your water intake. At this point, your body may be losing more water than what it’s consuming. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. Being thirsty is an indication that you’re dehydrated. Drink regularly throughout the day to avoid the thirsty sensation.

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If you're noticing a dark brown to orange color...

You’re dehydrated; time to rehydrate. It may even be appropriate to consider an electrolyte solution like Gatorade or Powerade. However, those beverages shouldn’t be your only source of rehydration as they are high in sugar. On another note, when you’re sick and have flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever, it’s common for your body to become dehydrated.

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Hydration-rich foods

If you feel as if you can’t possibly drink any more water, consider eating a food with hydration capabilities. That’s right, hydration doesn’t have to come from water. Here are some foods to try:

  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Melon
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Ways to stay hydrated

Drinking water doesn’t have to feel like a chore.  Consider the following tips:

  • Bring your favorite reusable water bottle along with you to ensure you’re drinking fluids throughout the day.
  • Place a lemon wedge or some cucumber slices in the water for additional flavor. For a refreshing treat, muddle a few berries in your glass of water or squeeze in some fresh citrus to make your own flavored water.
  • Herbal hot or ice tea can also help relieve the drudgery of constant water consumption.
  • Is cold water too cold? Try room temperature or hot water, especially on cold days.
  • Although you’re inclined to drink water after a workout, don’t forget to drink water before you get your sweat on, as well.
  • Drinking before a meal may reduce your likelihood of overeating as it tends to fill you up. This is not to say you should skip the dessert, though!
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Elizabeth Chase, MD

To boost your immune system, be sure to drink plenty of water, wash your hands regularly, and get some rest. 

— Elizabeth Chase, M.D., F.P.M.R.S.

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