Frequent Urination and The Effects of Dehydration

The need to urinate frequently can be caused by many conditions. It may be accompanied by feelings of needing to urinate right away along with pain or discomfort in your bladder. Frequent urination can be caused by a urinary infection, diabetes, pregnancy, cancer, stroke, neurological diseases, urinary incontinence and prostate problems. If you are urinating more then normal and not replacing the lost fluids and electrolytes you may be at risk for dehydration. If you are dealing with frequent urination it is important to be aware of the signs of dehydration and to drink enough water to avoid complications.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Your body needs the right balance of electrolytes to maintain health and function properly. In most cases when the levels of water in the body change so do the levels of electrolytes. That means if you are urinating frequently you may be losing not just fluid but essential nutrients as well. To avoid dehydration and other problems Merck suggests that “Healthy adults should drink at least 1-1/2 to 2 quarts (about 2 liters) of fluids a day.” Your doctor may recommend a higher amount to offset the fluid loss through urination 3. The Centers for Disease Control suggest taking a water bottle with you to work and other activities to help meet your daily needs.

Symptoms Develop

The first step is to have the cause of your frequent urination diagnosed. In many cases treating the underlying condition (such as balancing your blood sugar levels in Diabetes) will resolve your issues. According to the National Institutes of Health “An excessive volume of urination for an adult would be at least 2-1/2 liters of urine per day.” Along with watching for signs of dehydration you should also watch for back or side pain, vomiting, chills, sudden weight loss, bloody or cloudy urine or if there is a discharge from the penis or vagina 2. In addition, you should watch for the specific signs of dehydration.

Initial Stages of Dehydration

According to the Mayo Clinic if your frequent urination has caused mild to moderate dehydration you may experience a dry sticky mouth, thirst, headaches or dizziness 1. You may notice that you produce few or no tears when crying and feel unusually tired or sluggish. The Mayo Clinic states that you should not wait until you are thirsty to drink, especially if you are losing fluids through a condition such as frequent urination 1. They claim that “A better barometer is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you're well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.”

Symptoms of Severe Dehydration

If you do not replace your fluid loss when the above signs appear you may develop severe dehydration. Look for symptoms such as:

  • extreme thirst
  • fever
  • lack of sweating
  • sunken eyes
  • skin that is not elastic (does not bounce back when pinched)
  • low blood pressure

Your heart rate may become irregular, your urine output will decrease substantially, and you may lose consciousness. Dehydration can be life threatening, so if you notice these symptoms get immediate medical attention.