Overhydration?

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04/06/2009 at 10:27

Hullo!

Ok so everyone knows that youve gotta drink lots of water in the warmer weather, esp if planning to go for a run- what im wondering about is - is it possible to over hydrate and what are the symptoms?

I usually drink about 3-4 pints of water in the morning (between 8-11 am) and go for a run around 11ish... ive noticed however my hands feeling "tinggly" (spell?!) and the other day after my run, one of my hands went very numb.... I do know that a sign of being well hydrated is slightly swollen fingers- but Im wondering if theres a chance Ive taken it to the extreme?! Would appreciate your advice!  

Sarah

04/06/2009 at 10:47
it is possible to overhydrate which can lead to hyponatraemia which is basically reduced plasma sodium levels caused by flushing out too much and not replacing it. it can lead to some serious medical problems and typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache and malaise and then on from there to kidney failure and possible death - but that is obviously very extreme.

I don't know if the tingling is related to this but I would suggest you drink much less and then see what happens.

why do you drink that much water anyway? it seems excessive. and are you taking any electrolytes in with the water to replace those you will be flushing out??
04/06/2009 at 10:52

no  i dont really know what im doing i guess- i just drink water assuming its good for me and i think im just used to it now!

but will cut down on my intake ... thanks so much for your response

04/06/2009 at 11:03
well water is good for you - as is food - but taking too much or too little of either has consequences!

sure you should stay hydrated during the day, but I would have thought that unless you are in a manual job, or work in a hot environment, which means you sweat a lot I don't see that you need 3/4 pints of water in 3 hours.

cut back on the water and see if this has any noticeable effect - if it doesn't I would suggest you go see your GP
04/06/2009 at 11:05
How much water are you drinking a day?  do you feel thirsty and need to drink that much?  If i'd drunk that in 3hrs I'd be lilving in the loo.
04/06/2009 at 11:16
I find the more I drink the more I need to drink. So I organise how much I'm going to drink in a day and take that amount to work with me (depending on training, heat etc). If I'm not careful I go from one extreme to the other...
04/06/2009 at 11:42

The trick is to drink little and often rather than taking loads on board at once.

You will know how well hydrated are by the colour of your pee - the paler the better. If it looks like cider  you need to drink more, if not, you are ok.

04/06/2009 at 12:06

I wonder, do you drink that much water throughout the day, or are you cramming your daily intake into the 3 hour period before your run because you feel you need to be hydrated before hand? If it's the latter, I'd say it's maybe counter productive as most of that volume probably goes straight through you and then you don't benefit from the hydration for the rest of the day.

Like mrs punch, I'd spend most of the morning on the loo and still be sloshing around on my run!

I's say spread that amount out during the day - little and often.

Edit - X-post with scream, but at least we're saying the same thing!

Edited: 04/06/2009 at 12:07
04/06/2009 at 13:47

I do generally sip the water- but once the glass is empty- fill it straight away! ive just got used to it really- and yes i do need a wee often, but not overly so.... the wee colour is always pale! I do drink around another 3 pints or so after my run- usually between 1 and 6pm ish...  

I will cut down in the mornings and space the amout that i do drink out over the day! I do seem to be thirsty often, but as i said before, i think that maybe as im used to it now!

Thank you all again for your responses- just one more thing- i guess ive thrown myself into this running lark, ive built up over the past year or so to about 40 miles pw- seeing as im starting to get more dedicated to running- what should i really be doing to keep my body ticking over? I eat well- carbs/protein and lots of veg in between... you mentioned electrolytes- are these what sports drinks provide? is there any other way of replacing these without having to buy gallons of sports drinks?! also would you recommend any reading materials that will help? i really dont want to do myself a mischief- im very keen, but from lurking in the forums, and reading various posts here and there, i know its easy to over do things...

04/06/2009 at 13:53

cheap sports drink?

Squash with some sugar and salt added!!

04/06/2009 at 13:57

Your diet sounds fine, and as long as you're not drinking too much water, or sweating hugely for hours on end, your electolytes should be OK.

04/06/2009 at 14:00
electrolytes - sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium etc - come from a wide variety of dietary sources and are essential to your healthy metabolism. if you have a good varied diet, then you really don't need to worry too much - they tend to only cause problems when you lose too much or take too much

sweat/vomiting/diarrhoea will make you lose 'lytes rapidly so it's essential you replace them quickly to prevent issues - there are many ways to do this including electrolyte replacment packs (tend to be emergency uses like drips etc), sports drinks, supplements, tablets etc.

taking too much 'lytes isn't so big an issue as the body will usually cope but for example too much salt (sodium) over a long period can lead to high blood pressure. an injection of concentrated potassium salts will kill you!

these are extremes of course but for most running regimes a good diet is fine

cutting down the volume of water you drink would help reduce the possibility of losing too much through peeing
04/06/2009 at 14:00
If I recall correctly, hyponatraemia killed a fit young man doing London Marathon last year or the year before.  It's also what killed Leah Betts a few years back, although the media blamed the ecstasy pills she'd taken.
04/06/2009 at 14:03
yep - that guy dying at FLM was unusual but he took too much water on board whilst still sweating from running so he accelerated the sodium loss and suffered the consequences. I guess he didn't know what he was doing which shows it pays to know about these issues so you can stop it happening
04/06/2009 at 14:09

it certainly does pay! and I will make sure i dont over drink from now on!

thanks again everyone- great advice and information.

PS I really didnt know thats what killed Leah Betts... she was from a town near where I grew up- although I guess at the time, it brought awareness to ecstasy and scared the bejesus into kids like me growing up at the time! (well most of us anyway.... )

04/06/2009 at 15:29

That's right moose, it was the combination of the two that sealed her fate.

She had drunk too much - that was what had put her life in danger -  but the ecstasy stopped the ability to urinate, dooming her.

Crash Hamster    pirate
04/06/2009 at 18:35
Can't add much other than 'wot fb sed', but the Symptoms are a yellow cartoon family. Hope that helps.
04/06/2009 at 21:33

Saying that Leah Betts wasn't killed by ecstacy is like saying that someone who was shot wasn't killed by the person pulling the trigger!  The effect of the drugs she took was to make her thirsty and stop her urinating which led to hyponaturaemia.  So maybe ecstacy didn't directly kill her, as in an overdose, but it was certainly what pulled the trigger.

Even drinking 3 pints of water in the morning, you shouldn't be puffing up.  The modern diet is quite heavily salted, unless you prepare everything from fresh with no salt added, so its unlikely you'd be salt deficient before you start running.

Did you do anything different on your run that ended in tingly fingers?  faster, slower, new sports bra etc?

05/06/2009 at 08:51

Morning!

Hi Wotsit- no i did nothing differently, although I do think I drank a little more as happened on Tues when it was warmer- in all my wisdom, i thought drinking more before i went for a run would help!

05/06/2009 at 09:13

what if your pee is black?  does that mean you need to drink more?

 i have these weird yellow lumps on the end of it, too...

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