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Seven Markers of Dehydration You Shouldn't Ignore

Pay attention to your body's cues and make sure you stay hydrated. Here are some of the indicators that it's time for a drink of water:

  1. Dry Mouth is usually the first indication of dehydration, and often can be remedied simply by drinking water. However, if your dry mouth persists due to reasons such as diabetes or medication you are taking, then other measures may need to be taken.

  2. If you're not urinating regularly, at least every two hours, or your urine appears a dark yellow or amber hue; then it's time to drink more water! To better understand when and how much water to consume on any given day, refer to the table below.

  3. Severe Thirst that is connected with fatigue or headache — can be an indication your body isn't receiving enough water to complete its regular functions. This thirst could originate from extreme physical activity, during which you have lost fluids by sweating, or potentially a result of diarrhea. In any case, it's important to stay hydrated!

  4. Dizziness or lightheadedness — If the body is deprived of sufficient water, it can't transport hydrogen into brain cells as intended due to decreased blood pressure and volume resulting in dizziness and/or disorientation.

  5. Constipation & Muscle Cramp — If you have too little water in your food waste, it can impede its progress to the colon and halt elimination. This uncomfortable reality may cause abdominal cramping or even muscle pain.

  6. Bad Breath — Contrary to popular opinion, dehydration can be a significant factor in the cause of bad breath. This is because saliva has antibacterial properties that help fight bacteria found in the mouth and when we become dehydrated, our body produces less saliva which causes an increase in these odor causing germs.

  7. Tearless Cry (Dry Crying) — Are you aware that some people experience dry eyes? This is a physical condition where the tear glands are not producing enough tears, and it's distinct from difficulty expressing emotion or feeling. Dehydration may be a contributing factor to this uncomfortable affliction.

Fig: Review—Point-of-Care Urinalysis with Emerging Sensing and Imaging Technologies - Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: [accessed 10 Apr, 2023]

Note: Although the eight-point color scale has proven to be a practical tool for convenient assessment of hydration status in healthy adults (1 - 4), it lacks the capability to be used as a universally accurate tool for objective quantification of urine color.



[1] Kavouras SA, Johnson EC, Bougatsas D, Arnaoutis G, Panagiotakos DB, Perrier E, et al. Validation of a urine color scale for assessment of urine osmolality in healthy children. Eur J Nutr. (2016) 55:907–15. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0905-2

[2] Armstrong LE, Maresh CM, Castellani JW, Bergeron MF, Kenefick RW, LaGasse KE, et al. Urinary indices of hydration status. Int J Spt Nutr. (1994) 4:265–79. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.4.3.265 PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

[3] Armstrong LE, Soto JA, Hacker FT Jr, Casa DJ, Kavouras SA, Maresh CM. Urinary indices during dehydration, exercise, and rehydration. Int J Sport Nutr. (1998) 8:345–55. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.8.4.345 PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

[4} Hahn RG, Waldreus N. An aggregate urine analysis tool to detect acute dehydration. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metabol. (2013) 23:303–11. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.23.4.303 PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

[5] Belasco R, Edwards T, Munoz AJ, Rayo V, Buono MJ The Effect of Hydration on Urine Color Objectively Evaluated in CIE L*a*b* Color Space, Frontiers in Nutrition VOLUME 7, 2020 DOI=10.3389/fnut.2020.576974 ISSN=2296-861X


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