How to Stay Well Hydrated
Last updated: December 2022
I’ve struggled for years with being able to stay hydrated. Now that I’m back in Colorado with the higher elevation and dryer climate, it’s even more important to keep up my fluid intake.
One of the main signs I notice when I’m dehydrated is my skin and eyes drying out and increased headaches. In addition to endometriosis, I also have dysautonomia, an umbrella term for various disorders involving the autonomic nervous system.
Dysautonomia causes many different symptoms. The ones that show up most for me are near-constant thirst, trouble regulating my body temperature, dizziness, blood pooling in my legs, dehydration, migraine headaches, blurred vision, and noise and light sensitivity.
Upping my fluid intake
Doctors always told me I needed to drink more fluids, but drinking water or herbal teas didn’t make that much difference. When I began drinking an electrolyte solution daily, I noticed a big reduction in my symptoms: I have fewer headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and noise and light sensitivity.
I still feel thirsty and can’t always regulate my body temperature well, but these are more manageable than the other symptoms.
Since I also have mast cell activation syndrome, I have found that most commercial electrolyte supplements cause me to react, even if they are formulated for sensitive folks. My solution is to make my own rehydration drink.
Making my own rehydration drinks
Last summer, I discovered a link to homemade oral rehydration solutions from the University of Virginia Health System. Originally created as a solution for dehydration caused by acute diarrhea, it is also excellent for generally keeping dehydration at bay.
The page includes recipes for homemade electrolyte solutions with different base ingredients, including tomato juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, Gatorade, or plain water. My go-to has been to make the cranberry juice solution and drink it daily.
On the days when I have my entire dose of electrolyte solution, I feel much better than when I forget or even intentionally skip it because I’m feeling low on spoons for prep.
Using the solution was a game-changer for me this summer when hiking. Though I would bring a bladder full of two liters of water in my backpack, even drinking all that water wouldn’t give me the same effect as drinking the water in addition to my electrolyte solution.
It enabled me to hike longer and come home without the familiar headache I thought always came with strenuous exercise.
When taking extra good care of myself, I’ll put a container with the electrolyte solution next to my bed so I can drink it upon waking. I sometimes wake up with a headache, which has helped keep the headache from worsening during the day.
Store-bought hydration solutions
Other options are out there if you don’t feel like making your own solution. Drip Drop, Liquid IV, Pedialyte, Normalyte, and Nuun are some of the brands out there, and they all have slightly different ingredient lists and price points.
It is best to consult your doctor or a nutritionist about the best fit for you; some have dyes or sugars that may not be a match for your dietary needs.
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