Hydration – does it make a difference if you don’t drink enough?
I’m going to give you a typical case study that I have come across – a child, late teens who had constipation. Going to the loo was painful and they were feeling sluggish too – often tiredness prevented them concentrating at school too. It had been such a long term issue that it became a habit and they had almost got used to the symptoms. Because it was embarrassing, it wasn’t spoken about but they were suffering. Eventually and by chance, they joined in a conversation about it when a peer said they have had it and got rid of it. Water, or half decent fluid – that’s all it took. Is it easy to do? – yes, but it took a habit change and they have changed that habit and to my knowledge NEVER been constipated again. Constipation is not always alleviated by enough fluid but for some it is.
Our bodies are typically made up of 50 – 65% water and different parts of your body need more than others. The brain and the muscles need the most, which may explain why you feel tired and sluggish first when you haven’t had enough to drink. You get rid of water constantly, through the 4 ps – peeing, pooing, perspiring and panting (breathing) and so it needs replacing.
Does it matter what you drink? For hydration purposes, any fluid fit for human consumption apart from alcohol will help. Water will be the best for basic hydration. If you are sporty, electrolytes in water will help even more (these are minerals that the body needs to communicate properly and coconut water is a great example). We ALL need electrolytes but they are lost more with lots of sport. However if it’s part of the bigger picture of your health, drinks can have all sorts of fake flavours and sugars in them. Some canned fizzy drinks may have up to 8 teaspoons of sugar in and whilst I’ll save the sugar topic for now, it probably won’t benefit you if you exceed the sugar recommendations.
So if a child is in your care, keep an eye on the basics as it can really affect them and could be a more simple solution to behavioural problems, or just help a little with how they feel. Just another gesture of care that adds to what you already show them. And if you do have a juicer or a blender you can really get to town with some vegetable and fruit drinks (trust me , carrot apple and a tiny 1cm cube of fresh ginger tastes fab!) and look after yourselves too as care givers – drink that bextra gkass of water when you make yourself a cup of tea
Next week I shall go in more depth with making sure you are drinking enough and what you can do if you think dehydration is an issue