You're Drinking Too Much Water If This Happens To You

We've all been told about the importance of drinking an adequate amount of water. But is it possible to hit the tipping point, and overconsume this healthy substance? The truth is that, yes, there is a limit to how much water the body can process, and drinking too much water can put you at risk for certain health conditions.

For the average adult woman, about nine cups of water per day is recommended, and for an average adult man, about 13 cups is recommended, according to the National Institutes of Health. (Keep in mind, a cup is measured as eight fluid ounces.) But some people, particularly endurance athletes, are at danger of overconsuming in an effort to ward off dehydration.

Medical conditions can also cause you to become overly hydrated. People with kidney problems, congestive heart failure, liver disease, uncontrolled diabetes, or a condition called syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone can't excrete excess water from the body. Some psychiatric conditions and medications can also increase thirst, causing people to overconsume (via Healthline).

Here's what to watch out for

Symptoms of mild overhydration include headache, nausea or vomiting, mental changes like confusion, and bloating (via Shape).

When too much water is consumed, it dilutes the levels of salt and electrolytes in the body. In extreme cases, some people can develop hyponatremia, which means the salt levels in the body are too low. This can lead to swelling of the body's cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include muscle weakness, cramps or spasms, seizures, loss of consciousness, and coma. Death can occur if left untreated.

To reverse overhydration, intravenous electrolytes and sodium might be given. In most cases, however, prevention is key. Rather than trying to guzzle all of your daily water in one sitting, space it out throughout the day. Monitor the color of your urine to assess hydration levels. When well-hydrated, urine should be pale yellow, but if it's clear, you're consuming too much. Dark urine on the other hand, is indicative of dehydration.

The good news? It's likely you're not drinking too much, but if you have any symptoms of overhydration, just be mindful and pull back a bit. Paying attention to your body and letting thirst be your guide is your body's natural way of communicating your hydration needs.