22 Days Of Doing Better: Day 8
As easy as it sounds to integrate more water into your diet, the truth is, many of us just don’t do it. While we sit at desks for hours at work, sometimes we forget to spend even a small percentage of that time drinking water. We consume all sorts of sugary drinks and alcohol when we go out, but barely touch the free glass of water placed in front of us. And what about those of us who contend that we just can’t stand the taste enough to drink more?
There are many excuses as to why we are lax when it comes to our water consumption, but there are just as many consequences for such behavior. From constipation to dehydration and even dryness of the vagina, a lack of water can really mess with your system.
But first and foremost, how much water do we really need to drink? You’ve likely heard the whole eight glasses a day spiel, but honestly, every person’s need is different.
“On average, most people need eight glasses of water per day if they are healthy. However, sometimes people need more than eight glasses per day depending on their health, career, or medications,” says Lakeisha Richarson, MD, Ob/Gyn of Greenville, Miss. “For instance, all breastfeeding moms need greater than eight glasses of water per day. If a person is already dehydrated, they will need more than eight glasses of water per day. If someone is ill and has a fever, they will need more than eight glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration. Athletes and people who work in extreme temperate conditions also need additional water.”
Some of the serious issues that can come about due to limited water intake can include dehydration, decreased urine output, constipation, muscle cramps (i.e., Charley Horse) and dry mouth. But more alarming problems like dizziness, elevated heart rate and heat strokes can also occur. And if that’s not enough to make you believe that your body is heavily impacted by a lack of water, just ask your vagina.
“When it comes to vaginal health, staying hydrated is essential because the vaginal mucosa is one of our moist membranes and requires water to stay healthy,” Richardson said. “Dehydration or a lack of adequate water can lead to vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can cause pain with intercourse and also increases the risk of lacerations and infection. Vaginal dryness can also cause bleeding with intercourse.”
While you work on increasing the amount of water you drink, in the meantime, Richardson says a woman can combat dryness down there with a vaginal moisturizer.
“Just as she would moisturize her hands and her face if they felt dry, she can use a long-lasting vaginal moisturizer every couple of days like Replens that works to rejuvenate vaginal tissue and alleviate discomfort.”
But reaching for the water bottle more often than not requires a little bit more from us when the taste doesn’t fit our flavor of choice. In those cases, Richardson recommends also reaching for fruits and vegetables to give your water that kick you’re seeking.
“You can add cucumbers, lemons, berries, mint, or watermelon to bottled water to give it more flavor but still get the recommend daily amount of water.”
With anything, you have to make the effort to see the change. Bring a large container with you to work and fill the whole thing up, consuming it throughout the entire work day. Throw a water bottle in your bag when you know you’re going to be on the move all day. Order water at he restaurant and ask for lime with it. Make whatever strides you can, big and small, to hydrate. Your body will thank you.