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Alcohol as a cause of dehydration

Alcohol as a cause of dehydration

September 23 | By CAAH Team

Water makes up almost 55-75 percent of the human body and is essential for most body functions, as well as ensuring cell life. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it needs for normal body processes and is characterized by dizziness, weakness, and excessive thirst. Some people may also experience dryness of eyes and mouth as symptoms of dehydration.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause dehydration in various ways. Consuming even moderate amounts could lead to dehydration and even alcohol poisoning. Here are few ways in which alcohol causes dehydration:

  • Alcohol and diuresis

Diuresis is the physiologic process of passing out excessive urine which often causes dehydration. Alcohol is known to have a fairly significant diuretic effect. This is due to the fact that alcohol blocks the release of antidiuretic hormones (ADH) that is needed for water reabsorption by the kidneys. Without ADH the kidneys do not reabsorb water and thus gets released as urine. This results in more than the normal fluid loss from the body through increased urination.

  • Hangover and vomiting

Often people who drink too much alcohol complain of nausea, vomiting, and stomachache. This is because alcohol increases the production of acid in the stomach which in turn delays the clearing of waste from the body. Vomiting, again, leads to dehydration as it causes additional fluid loss. Repeated episodes of vomiting can be a sign of alcohol poisoning which may harm an individual in many other ways as well. Thus, the diuretic effect of alcohol, combined with the loss of fluid due to vomiting adds to the dehydrating effect of alcohol.

Ironically when people experience a hangover they are advised to drink coffee which is supposed to sober them up. However, caffeine itself is a diuretic substance and can worsen a person’s condition. After a night of heavy drinking, it is best to hydrate by drinking plenty of fluids, rehydration drinks, water or juices.

Prevention is better than cure

To avoid dehydration due to drinking it is advisable to drink water while consuming alcohol. Having a glass of water before drinking or alternating alcoholic drinks with water is a good way to remain hydrated. Having a glass of water before sleeping can also prove useful.

Moderate alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption, in any frequency, can impact health. However, to avoid medical complications, if alcohol is consumed at all, it should be done in moderate quantities. People who are already suffering from kidney problems, urinary frequency and diarrhea should consult a doctor before having liquor. Keeping in mind how alcohol can dehydrate the body, it is best to avoid binge drinking or going overboard with that glass of wine. In case of a hangover, replace coffee with water or juices. It is also wise to avoid caffeinated drinks or energy drinks.

Drinking water proves to be beneficial in a number of ways. Plenty of water in the body can keep many health problems at bay.

Path to recovery

Any sort of addiction can be ruinous. Alcoholism is pervasive and can destroy relationships, career, and lives. If you or your loved one is battling alcohol addiction and have decided to break free, the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Helpline can connect you to the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado. You may contact us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online with our experts who can help you with the necessary information on alcohol addiction treatments in Colorado that work tirelessly toward helping addicts in their recovery.

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