Water is essential to survival. Approximately 60% of our bodies is made up with water. Here I want to talk about how much we need and what are good substitutes with high water content, what happens if we don't get enough and the taboo topic of UTI's, (urinary tract infections).
Why we need it and where we get it:
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water:
Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
Keeps your temperature normal
Lubricates and cushions joints
Protects sensitive tissues
About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. We need about 2l of water a day, so the age old advice of 8 cups a day is good - including many beverages with some exceptions, (primarily alcohol and high sugar content drinks). You will need more under certain circumstances, based on several factors:
Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you may need additional fluids to stay hydrated.
When you don't get enough it can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Simply being thirsty is the first sign and it is recommended that you maintain a consistent habit of drinking water/fluids.
Good water habits:
When You Wake Up, Consume One to Two Cups of Water. Rather than a bleary-eyed reach for the coffee, drink one to two cups of water first. Because you don't drink while you're sleeping, you wake up already a little dehydrated. This can also help if you take medication in the morning.
To Regulate Hunger, a glass of water before a meal may help. Drinking a cup of water before a meal can help you feel more full and help prevent overeating. Indeed, a small study found that drinking water before a meal helped men and women eat less and feel just as satisfied as a group who didn’t drink water before. Researchers published their findings in October 2018 in the journal Clinical Nutrition Research.
It may also be better if it’s iced. A small study on men in the European Journal of Nutrition in January 2019 found that participants who drank two cups of iced water ate less food compared with groups that drank warm or hot water, as the chilly temp slows digestion and may help reduce appetite.
Have a glass of water to help wash down a meal. Drinking water with food aids digestion. Water is especially important to drink alongside high-fiber foods. Fiber moves through your digestive system and absorbs water, helping form stools and promote regularity.
Rather than reaching for coffee to cure a midafternoon slump, drink water. It’s common to experience the midafternoon dip, a downward slide of energy that happens around 3 p.m. This slump compels many people go get coffee to power through the end of the day, but this beverage choice can cut into your sleep. Reaching for a sugary snack can have similarly unwelcome effects: namely, an energy crash after a spike. Instead of turning to these imperfect solutions, address the root cause, which may be dehydration. A review published in Nutrients in January 2019 notes that in addition to fatigue, dehydration can cause anger, hostility, confusion, and depression.
Have a sip or two of water before bedtime. Don’t drink a cup or two of water before bed — you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and that will disturb your sleep. However, go ahead and bring a glass of water to your bedside at night, just in case you get thirsty. For many patients on medication, one common side effect is dry mouth, so keeping H20 nearby can be helpful.
Drink H20 when you have a headache. A headache can be a symptom of dehydration. What’s more, it can also trigger migraine attacks. For those with migraines, increasing water intake may help decrease migraine severity, frequency, and duration, suggests a July 2020 trial in adult women published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience.
Hydrate smartly before, during, and after exercise. Hydrating begins long before exercise. You also won’t want to slam water before a workout in hopes of hydrating up — that will likely lead to uncomfortable sloshing and bloating as you move. Make sure you’re drinking water regularly , not all at once. Then be sure to hydrate well after your workout is complete to replace what you’ve lost through sweat.
Urinary tract infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men. If an infection is limited to the bladder, it can be painful and annoying. But serious health problems can result if a UTI spreads to the kidneys.
Health care providers often treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics, but you can also take steps to lower the chance of getting a UTI in the first place.
UTIs don't always cause symptoms. When they do, they may include:
A strong urge to urinate that doesn't go away
A burning feeling when urinating
Urinating often, and passing small amounts of urine
Urine that looks cloudy
Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — signs of blood in the urine
Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
UTI's typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to spread in the bladder. The urinary system is designed to keep out bacteria. But the defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
Risk factors for UTIs that are specific to women include:
Female anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra than men do. As a result, there's less distance for bacteria to travel to reach the bladder.
Sexual activity. Being sexually active tends to lead to more UTIs. Having a new sexual partner also increases risk.
Certain types of birth control. Using diaphragms for birth control may increase the risk of UTIs. Using spermicidal agents also can increase risk.
Menopause. After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract. The changes can increase the risk of UTIs.
Urinary tract problems. Babies born with problems with their urinary tracts may have trouble urinating. Urine can back up in the urethra, which can cause UTIs.
Blockages in the urinary tract. Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder. As a result, risk of UTIs is higher.
A suppressed immune system. Diabetes and other diseases can impair the immune system — the body's defense against germs. This can increase the risk of UTIs.
Catheter use. People who can't urinate on their own often must use a tube, called a catheter, to urinate. Using a catheter increases the risk of UTIs. Catheters may be used by people who are in the hospital. They may also be used by people who have neurological problems that make it difficult to control urination or who are paralyzed.
A recent urinary procedure.
Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute the urine. That leads to urinating more often — allowing bacteria to be flushed from the urinary tract before an infection can begin.
Try cranberry juice. Studies that look into whether cranberry juice prevents UTIs aren't final. However, drinking cranberry juice is likely not harmful.
Wipe from front to back. Do this after urinating and after a bowel movement. It helps prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina and urethra.
Empty your bladder soon after having sex. Also drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using them in the genital area can irritate the urethra. These products include deodorant sprays, douches and powders.
Change your birth control method. Diaphragms, unlubricated condoms or condoms treated with spermicide can contribute to bacterial growth.