The amount of water you drink depends on a number of health-damaging factors, such as your weight, gender, and degree of physical activity. Most people need around 2.5 to 3 liters of water a day, but the body can tolerate the consumption of 8 liters well. The kidneys, when functioning properly, filter out excess water and increase the volume of urine to eliminate the excess. But to determine if this amount you are ingesting is excessive, the tip is to seek a nutritional or medical evaluation with an endocrinologist.
Ideally, make an appointment as soon as possible. This is because the excessive consumption of liquids for a long time can be linked to some problem, and even to psychosomatic illnesses. The so-called potomania, which is exactly the habit of drinking too much fluid, may be related to some disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, among others.
In addition, too much fluid in our body can cause water intoxication, which leads to the dilution and drop of sodium in the blood, called hyponatremia. The mineral, so important to our body, regulates the amount of water present in cells. And low sodium in the blood can lead to swelling of cells, which we call cellular edema. This condition hinders the proper functioning, especially of neurons, leading to neurological symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headache and irritability, and can progress to mental confusion.
If excessive intake continues, or if the person further increases the amount of fluid, the consequences can be even worse, causing seizures, coma, and even death.
There’s even an account to find out the correct amount of water your body needs, and the math is simple: 35 ml per kilogram of weight. So, for a 70 kg person, for example, the ideal is to drink about 2.5 liters of water a day. But, as said, these values can change according to the routine of each one.
To avoid excessive consumption, the first step is to know how to listen to your body. If you always drink water without thirst, it could be a sign of excess. Another easy tip is to analyze the color of your urine. The best thing is that it has a light yellow color. Very dilute, almost transparent urine may indicate a larger volume of fluid than necessary.
Sources: Ana Carolina Thé, endocrinologist at the Hospital das Clínicas at UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco), linked to Ebserh (Brazilian Company of Hospital Services); Maria Fernanda Osório Almeida, endocrinologist at Hospital Marcelino Champagnat, in Curitiba; Rachel Heep, psychiatrist and professor of mental health in the Medicine course at Universidade Positivo, in Curitiba.