Wondering how much water to drink? Find out what's recommended to keep us healthy. Learn how dehydration can affect fertility.
Besides oxygen, water is the other most important ingredient for life, found within all our living cells! In fact most of the intracellular fluid is composed of water - around 70% of the total volume in a typical cell. Our cells are also surrounded by a watery solution (extracellular fluid) which acts as a communication system for signaling molecules. All biochemical reactions involve water!
Did you know that an average adult male is made up of approximately 60% water, and the average female is around 55%.
The body looses water through sweating, urinating, bowel movements, and it's exhaled during breathing. Therefore we need to replace our lost stores daily.
We do gain water from our food, especially from fruits and vegetables. This may account for around 20% of our daily water intake. Beware that a lot of modern day foods are manufactured/processed with a minimal amount of liquid content. This is to delay the spoiling process so products can be stored for longer periods.
Take note - Sugary sodas, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol shouldn't be your main sources of fluid!
Research studies have produced conflicting advice over the years, so there's no easy answer for how much water to drink. There are many factors that determine exactly how much as individual needs vary.
This includes your health, weight, how active you are, and what sort of climate you live in. Overweight people have larger metabolic loads than those who are a normal weight for their height. We need more water in hot temperatures than cold, and more for physical lifestyles than sedentary.
Based on a normal healthy person living in a moderate climate -
Most doctors recommend at least -
Eight x 8-ounce glasses of water per day (around 1.9 liters) or
Eight U.S. fluid ounces = 236.5 ml per glass
One liter = 33.81 fl.0z (U.S.)
The 8x8 rule is easy for most to remember!
Dietary recommendations from the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board (U.S.) -
Men – approximately 125 ounces (3.7 liters ) of water per day from both food and beverages
Equal to 3 liters or 13 cups of fluids
Women – approximately 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water per day from both food and beverages
Equal to 2.2 liters or nine cups of fluids
The replacement approach -
On a daily basis most people produce approximately 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) of urine output each day
We lose nearly an additional liter (about 4 cups) from normal bodily processes
Food may account for around 20% of daily total fluid intake
Therefore we should consume 2 liters of fluids (just over 8 cups) daily to make up for the loss
Another common theory is -
If you don't often feel thirsty, and you produce around 1.5 liters or more of colorless to a light (straw colored) yellow urine each day then you're probably drinking sufficient amounts of fluid. If your urine is dark and/or has a strong ammonia odor you may not be drinking enough.
Of course these above measurements may need to be adjusted to suit, as there's no one formula for everyone.
Hopefully these guides help you to estimate how much water to drink daily. If in any doubt consult your personal physician or a qualified dietitian. They can help work out the correct amount for you personally, taking your health and lifestyle factors into account.
When sick, we usually need to drink more water e.g. fever, infection, or virus. For severe vomiting or diarrhea associated with gastroenteritis your doctor may also recommend oral rehydration solution.
*Please note - Certain medical conditions can impair the excretion of fluids from the body so may require limited water intake. Examples are heart failure, and some kidney, liver, or adrenal diseases. Please check with a qualified medical practitioner regarding the amount of water you should be consuming per day if you have any known health issues.
Now you have an idea how much water to drink each day, so as part of your fertility diet you should assess if you're meeting requirements! If we start letting ourselves get dehydrated then subtle ailments can start to show. These may be easily overlooked at first, but if left untreated health can suffer.
Water helps to flush out toxins from the body. The accumulation of various toxic substances, chemicals etc. can contribute towards hormonal imbalances, or even directly affect sperm and egg cells. Dehydration leads to blood thickening and sluggish circulation. This in turn may eventually interfere with the pelvis area and reproductive organs.
Women - dehydration can hinder the production of cervical fluid/mucus. Adequate water intake helps enhance the quality and amount of fertile cervical fluid. Healthy cervical fluid is essential for conception as this protects sperm cells, and assists with their journey towards the egg. It also helps to keep sperm cells alive for several days.
Once pregnant drinking enough water is essential. This helps prevent urinary tract infections and/or hemorrhoids, both of which are common during pregnancy. Water is needed for a sufficient amount of amniotic fluid which is what the fetus floats in within the womb. Water transports nutrients to the developing baby through the mothers blood supply. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of premature labor as this can bring on contractions. While pregnant or breastfeeding water consumption usually needs to increase. It's best to check with your own doctor to determine how much water to drink during this time.
Men - dehydration can lead to reduced semen production and/or a lower sperm count. Semen is the fluid that contains the spermatozoa. This fluid protects and nourishes sperm cells, transporting them during ejaculation so that they can reach the female egg. A low sperm count can decrease the odds of conception taking place.
*Please note - These are general symptoms and aren't designed nor intended for a self diagnosis. Consult your doctor for a correct diagnosis and treatment as other health conditions can also cause these symptoms.
Yes you can. A normal healthy person is at very low risk and shouldn't be overly concerned about accidentally drinking too much water. However a condition known as water intoxication can occur with over consumption of water. This results when the balance of sodium and other electrolytes (minerals) in the extracellular fluid become extremely low - compared to the inside of cells. Fluid then shifts through the cell membranes (osmosis) in order to balance out the concentration. This causes cells to swell and can cause a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function.
Risk factors include - endurance athletes during excessive physical activity, sweating, and/or heat stress. This can happen if electrolytes are not properly replenished but excessive amounts of water are still consumed. Water drinking competitions can be dangerous. As mentioned above some medical conditions also put a person at risk.
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