Can dehydration cause nausea and vomiting?
Water, H2O, elixir of life. We’ve all heard these phrases before to describe the importance of hydration in maintaining a healthy body. And it’s true! Our bodies are made up of 60% water and we need to replenish that supply every day.
Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration which can cause a myriad of unpleasant symptoms. One such symptom is nausea and vomiting. But how exactly does this happen? Let’s delve deeper into the relationship between dehydration and our stomachs.
The Basics: What is Dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when more fluids leave our body than we take in. This can be due to sweating, urination, diarrhea or not drinking enough fluids throughout the day. We lose electrolytes along with fluids during periods of dehydration which affects our overall bodily functions.
How Does Dehydration Cause Nausea and Vomiting?
When our bodies become dehydrated, blood flow slows down which reduces oxygen supply to various parts including the brain. The lack of oxygen causes certain cells in the hypothalamus region – an area in charge of regulating blood pressure, temperature control etc.,-to malfunction causing nausea which might lead as well vomiting
Additionally, dehydration triggers an inflammatory response that leads to altered levels/production or release action of hormones such as histamine free radicals cytokines leukotrienes among others they stimulate contraction waves inside your intestines leading ultimately vomiting reflex..
To put it simply, if you’re dehydrated your hypothalamus goes haywire sending signals around your body telling you that something isn’t right – cue nausea and potentially retching up your breakfast/lunch/dinner (lovely).
Other Symptoms Associated with Dehydration
Nausea/vomiting aren’t the only side effects caused by mild/moderate/severe dehydration.Here are some other signs to look out for!
- Dry mouth
It’s important to take note of these symptoms and act upon them cause prolonged dehydration beyond this may lead after a range of more severe complications
If mild dehydration goes untreated, it can escalate into more serious side effects such as:
- Irritation/restlessness/ confusion
- Rapid heartbeat/breathing/Shallow breathing
- Sunken eyes/dry skin
These signs usually mean that the person is physically unable to replace lost fluids on their own and need medical help immediately.
It gets worse. Much, much worse.
Severe cases of dehydration include the following symptoms:
- Extreme lethargy/unresponsiveness/inability or very reduced attention span apart from many language/narrative difficulties depending on regions affected.
- Cold/clammy skin/Drop in blood pressure/Elevated heart rate / fever among others
- Dark urine/No urination at all after some very long time…
Here we are not talking about just drinking some crystal clear water..yo’ guy needs IV fluid replacement like….pronto!!
Who is Most Susceptible?
While anyone can become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough fluids throughout the day those who experience sweating regularly (Athletes) people with diarrhea/vomiting chronic diseases that cause heavy urination(metabolic disorders; diabetes insipidus being one example), and certain medications will be most susceptible .
Babies/toddlers ,older adults are also generally at an increased risk since their bodies lose so much water daily even when they’re adequately hydrated due through normal unavoidable body processes/hormonal fluctuations.
How Can We Prevent It?
Hydration–that simple solution–is key. The generic advice is usually to drink 8 glasses a day but bodies are incredibly smart and just that mightn’t be enough if engaged in strenuous activity like exercising outside or you’ve got a kidney disorder.
Other recommendations include:
- Drinking fluids with electrolytes
- Eating hydrating foods such as watermelon, cucumbers etc.,
- Reduce consumption of alcohol ,Caffeine(increases urination) which have diuretic properties
- Monitoring the color/Making simple observations on your pee (lighter urine indicates sufficient hydration)
When to Seek Medical Help?
Finally, when does dehydration become dangerous? As we mentioned earlier severe dehydration occurs. Seek emergency medical attention for anyone who shows signs of being severely dehydrated or has these additional symptoms:
- Rapid breathing/pulse/ heartbeat
- Chest or abdominal pain/discomfort among others
In conclusion, drinking enough water daily is vital to maintaining our body’s natural balance, preventing unpleasant stomachaches and protecting us from more severe complications that can happen. Beat the heat this summer by boosting your fluid intake–your hypothalamus will surely thank you!