It’s estimated that 75% of Americans aren’t drinking the recommended amount of water each day. This chronic dehydration can have wide-reaching effects on your health—often in ways you might not have thought possible. Here’s a look at five signs that may indicate you’re not getting enough water.
1. You’re thirsty all the time.
Frequently being thirsty is a good sign you’re not drinking enough water—who would have thought? While there are other possibilities as to why you’re feeling parched all the time, start with the simplest explanation and have a few extra glasses a day. This is an early sign of dehydration, and it’s best to nip that in the bud before things get worse.
2. You’re constipated.
Forgive the bathroom talk, but if the last stretch of your digestive system is not working like it should, it could be because you’re not getting enough water. Water keeps things moving smoothly down there and promotes soft, easy-to-pass stools. Without enough of it, you may find that the excretion process moves at a snail’s pace or even grinds to a halt.
3. You’re always tired.
Fatigue is one of the primary signs of dehydration. If you find yourself unable to make it through your day without a nap or a caffeinated jump start, inadequate hydration could be to blame. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that subjects who were intentionally induced into a dehydrated state were more likely to feel tired and experience bad moods.
4. You’re gaining weight or are unable to lose it.
When you don’t drink enough water, your body attempts to hold onto every last drop it gets. This water retention can keep the scale from budging, and in extreme cases, even cause your weight to go up—modestly, mind you.
5. You’re sick all the time.
Water and your immune system are best buddies. Staying hydrated ensures that you’re producing enough lymph to transport disease-fighting white blood cells to every area of your body. Additionally, drinking water can help stave off congestion and sore throats from colds or the flu by thinning out the mucus your body creates.