Drinking water is essential for our health and wellbeing. It is important for us to stay hydrated and replenish our bodies with the proper amount of water. However, it is also possible to drink too much water, leading to a rare but serious medical condition known as water intoxication.

In this article, we’ll discuss the risks associated with drinking too much water and how to prevent them:

Definition of “too much water”

When it comes to water intake, the definition of “too much” will vary for each person. Generally, health organizations recommend that men drink about 3 liters (13 cups) and women drink about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of total fluids daily to stay hydrated and adequately nourish their bodies. Most of this should come from drinking water, but other sources like fruits, vegetables, smoothies and other beverages can also account for some of these fluids.

When too much water is consumed in a short amount of time it can cause an imbalance in the body’s natural electrolytes leading to hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood). This can cause a range of symptoms including headache, confusion, muscle cramps and fatigue and may require medical attention in severe cases. Knowing how much you need to drink to avoid over-hydration is key to maintaining your health.

Health Risks

Drinking too much water can lead to a condition known as water intoxication, which can have dangerous consequences. Those who are on medications, have certain health conditions, or are exercising intensively can be especially at risk for water intoxication.

Let’s dive into the details about the health risks of drinking too much water:


Hyponatremia is a potential serious health risk associated with drinking too much water. In general, the body needs to ingest the correct amount of salt and other minerals in order to maintain healthy bodily functions. When someone drinks too much water, it can lead to a disruption in the body’s balance of minerals, resulting in hyponatremia.

Symptoms typically include headaches, nausea and vomiting, weakness, confusion and eventually coma as the body absorbs water into cells faster than it can get rid of it. Without treatment, hyponatremia can be fatal.

The most effective way to avoid this condition is to drink enough fluids to satisfy your thirst without overdoing it – stopping before you are completely slaked or sated – is the key.

Water Intoxication

Water intoxication is a serious problem that occurs when an excess of water overwhelms the body and leads to an electrolyte imbalance. It can happen to anyone, especially if you are drinking large amounts of water in a short period of time.

Water intoxication is caused when too much water dilutes your electrolytes – minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium – which create an imbalance in the body and can lead to vomiting, confusion and coma if left untreated. You can become dehydrated if you do not balance your water intake with the right amount of electrolytes.

Symptoms of water intoxication include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased mental alertness
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If left untreated these symptoms can become very serious and may even result in death due to extreme levels of electrolyte imbalance or brain swelling.

If you think someone is experiencing water intoxication they should be taken to a hospital immediately where they can receive medical attention as well as have their vital signs monitored until the condition resolves itself or has been treated. Treatment typically involves administration of intravenous saline solution which contains carefully balanced amounts of salts and minerals needed by the body’s cells.

Signs and Symptoms

Drinking too much water can lead to a medical condition called water intoxication. Water intoxication happens when too much water is consumed at once, which causes an imbalance in the body’s salt and electrolyte levels. Knowing the signs and symptoms of water intoxication can help you stay safe when it comes to drinking water.


Nausea is one of the most common signs of drinking too much water. When too much water is consumed, the stomach can become overloaded, leading to nausea and an unpleasant feeling of fullness. This can be accompanied by bloating, an increased rate of urination, abdominal cramps or pain, and fatigue.

It’s important to keep dehydration in mind as well because nausea could be a symptom of extreme dehydration rather than overhydration. If you start to experience these symptoms, it’s best to stop drinking for awhile and evaluate your overall water intake.


Headache is a common symptom associated with drinking too much water, a condition known as hyponatremia. While headaches may be one of the first symptoms of hyponatremia, other signs and symptoms can include nausea/vomiting, fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite and irritability. If left untreated, more severe symptoms may appear including muscle weakness/spasms, coma or even death.

Water intoxication occurs when the body has consumed more water than it can remove through urination. This leads to a decrease in sodium levels in the blood which causes water to enter cells in the brain and causes them to swell. The extra fluid increases pressure on the skull that can cause headaches. When drinking too much water at once (called acute hyponatremia) this can cause headaches quickly or even neurologic damage. If drinking too much over an extended period of time (called chronic hyponatremia) it can also cause permanent brain changes as well as lead to seizure disorders and/or cognitive impairment.

To prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance related headaches it is recommended that people drink 8-10 glasses of fluids each day (edit: adjust your own personal needs based on your weight), however individuals should spread their intake throughout the day instead of consuming all at once. Additionally addressing factors such as altitude level changes or medication warnings that may indicate special needs for additional fluids are important steps for individuals who are planning strenuous activities or traveling long distances for extended periods of time.


Vomiting is one of the more extreme signs and symptoms of drinking too much water. The increase in water can cause sodium levels in the body to become dangerously low, a condition known as hyponatremia. Vomiting is also a common symptom of water intoxication and can occur with other symptoms such as confusion, seizures, or coma. It may also be accompanied with stomach cramps and diarrhea.

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Severe cases of hyponatremia can lead to organ failure if left untreated, so it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of water intoxication such as vomiting.


Drinking excessive amounts of water can lead to swelling, otherwise known as water intoxication or hyponatremia. While the body needs sufficient fluids for optimal health, too much water interferes with its ability to properly metabolize salts and leads to an imbalance between salts and liquids in the body.

Signs and symptoms of water intoxication vary depending on the extent of the imbalance and can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Changes in level of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Coma

Swelling may occur on its own or be accompanied by bloating caused by fluid accumulation in various parts of the body such as abdominal distention (water belly), facial puffiness, joint pain accompanied by redness caused by inflammation or swelling of brain tissue (cerebral edema). Left untreated these symptoms can be potentially dangerous. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe swelling or any other signs associated with possible water intoxication.


Confusion is one of the first signs that a person is experiencing symptoms from water intoxication. Increased confusion can lead to disorientation; a person may not be able to remember where they are or recognize people and familiar objects.

As the symptoms worsen, one can become clumsy and have difficulty talking, forming coherent speech, or focusing on visual tasks. Additionally, there may be an increased risk of accidental injury due to an inability to concentrate and problems with coordination.


Water is essential for health and wellbeing, but it is possible to drink too much of it. If you’re concerned about over-hydration, there are some simple steps you can take to help you keep your water intake in check.

Prevention is always the best course of action, and this section will discuss how to monitor your water intake and identify any potential risks:

Drink in moderation

Drinking too much water can be dangerous and even deadly. It is important to follow guidelines for appropriate amounts of water consumption, as outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consuming an excessive amount of water can lead to a condition called hyponatremia – when the level of sodium in the blood becomes diluted – which can cause confusion, seizures, coma and even death.

In general, it is best to drink fluids when thirsty and avoid over-hydrating. It’s also helpful to limit caffeinated beverages, which are diuretics that promote more frequent urination and lead to dehydration if consumed in large amounts. The general recommendation for adequate intake is two liters (about 8 cups) per day for adults; however this may vary depending on activity levels or other health concerns.

It’s also worth noting that most Americans get enough fluids from the food they eat, so adding additional large volumes of fluid from drinks may not be necessary or beneficial. Additionally, if you don’t have access to safe drinking water, then you should not drink tap water from countries where contaminated tap water can carry serious health risks such as cholera or dysentery. Suitable alternatives include bottled drinking waters or other packaged drinks that contain essential electrolytes for hydration like coconut waters or sports drinks.

Monitor your water intake

Staying hydrated is as important as drinking enough water – too much or too little can cause harmful side effects. It can also disrupt the body’s balance of electrolytes, resulting in dehydration or overhydration, which can be a medical emergency. In general, healthy adults should consume 2 liters (about 8 cups) of water per day.

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However, this may need to be adjusted for certain factors such as age, health conditions, and physical activity level. As such, it is important to monitor your water intake on a daily basis. Make sure to note down how much you are drinking throughout the day and spread it out throughout the day rather than drinking it all at once. Take frequent breaks during activities such as running/exercising and take sips of water every 20 minutes or so. It is also helpful to drink sports beverages such as Gatorade if you are engaging in intense physical activity for more than an hour. Doing this helps replace lost electrolytes and calories due to sweating while replenishing any fluids lost during exercise.

Consult with a doctor

It’s important to talk to your doctor or dietician if you suspect you might be drinking more water than recommended in order to understand the risks associated with over-hydration. Consulting with a doctor is essential if you take any medications or have any medical conditions that could make drinking too much water a problem.

Your doctor can tell you how much fluid and electrolytes are safe for your specific needs, and recommend ways to keep your hydration levels in check. Regular checkups will allow your physician to monitor your hydration status and provide appropriate advice and recommendations. If an underlying medical condition is the cause of over-hydration, the healthcare provider can create a personalized treatment plan that incorporates:

  • Dietary modifications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Potential medications

to minimize the risk for negative health consequences.


In conclusion, drinking too much water can be dangerous, leading to a condition called water intoxication. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day, but it is equally important to not overdo it. Moderation is the key to staying healthy. In general, hydration should be balanced throughout the day and should be accompanied by other fluids and solids.

Summary of key points

This article has discussed the importance of staying hydrated, the risks of drinking too much water, and how to calculate your optimal water intake.

To summarize this article, it is important to note that water is essential for good health and regular bodily functions. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day, although this amount may vary from person to person depending on activity levels and other factors. It is also important to be aware that in rare cases, it is possible for an individual to drink too much water which can cause serious health complications including hyponatremia and even death in more severe cases.

Therefore, it is essential for individuals looking to ensure proper hydration to monitor their daily intake carefully and consult a medical professional if they experience any signs of dehydration or hyperhydration.

By Reiki

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