Water glass stage image 2560x1160.jpeg

Can You Drink Too Much Water?

We're not doing ourselves any harm by striving for eight glasses of water every day. After all, our bodies are reliant on water to function. It replaces fluid loss, helps us to maintain our body temperature, prevents constipation, and generally keeps us in good health. But sometimes you can overconsume water. So, what happens to our body when we drink too much water? What are the main symptoms of overhydration? And how can we prevent it?
What is Overhydration?
Overhydration is when your body takes in more water than it loses. This can cause many health implications as it creates an imbalance of electrolytes. To sustain healthy blood, heart rhythm, muscle function, and other critical functions of the body, electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium must be in balance.
Water glass stage image 2560x1160.jpeg

What happens to your body when you drink too much water?

You may get water poisoning or water intoxication when you drink excessive amounts of water. This is when salt levels and electrolytes are reduced in your blood. The electrolyte primarily influenced by overhydration is sodium. And when sodium levels in your body become extremely low it can cause hyponatremia which is extremely dangerous and life-threatening.

Consuming too much water can also alter brain function. This is rare but can occur when the body's cells have absorbed too much water, causing them to expand. When your brain cells swell, a lot of pressure is added which can cause headaches and confusion. If the pressure continues to increase, there is a risk of high blood pressure and low heart rate. 

It doesn’t matter what type of water you consume, whether it be tap water or filtered water from a dispenser or water cooler, the same effects of overhydration apply. For water consumption guidelines visit the UK's NHS guidelines.

Tired Man 880x880

Overhydration Symptoms

According to Healthline, common symptoms of overhydration include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Clear urine
  • Urinating more frequently than normal

More dangerous symptoms of overhydration when left untreated include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
Thumbs up 880x880.

Overhydration Treatment

Treatments for overhydration may include reducing your water intake and taking diuretics to increase your urine. Sometimes an underlying health condition or prescribed medication may be causing overhydration and a medical professional will need to treat this and change your medication. To treat more severe cases, the sodium lost in your body will need replacing.

Water glass stage image 2560x1160.jpeg

Overhydration Prevention

To prevent overhydrating, you should be aware of when you need water. Feeling thirsty is your body's way of telling you that you are dehydrated and need water. For many individuals, drinking a lot of water before or after exercise is common without comprehending the potential effects that can occur. It's important to listen to your body.

During exercise, you may lose a lot of sweat which removes water and salt from your body. As discussed earlier when we lose a lot of salt and sodium, we are at risk of developing hyponatremia. When you know you have a big sports event coming up, you can look for sports drinks that contain essential electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to maintain a good balance.

You can frequently check the colour of your urine to find out how hydrated you are. Pale yellow is considered a normal colour. If it is dark, this could be an indication to drink more water. However, if your urine is clear, this could be a sign of overhydration.

If you are concerned about overhydration or are feeling unusually thirsty, contact your doctor.


Get in touch to find out how you can keep health and hydration front of mind this year, with help from BRITA VIVREAU.

* Mandatory fields
Please check your input
Please check your input
Please check your input
Please check your input
Please check your input

Please type the characters you see in the image below, then click submit.

Please check your input

Related content

H2O front cover_710x400

HOME TO OFFICE: Expert insight into the office of the future

In our latest toolkit, we combine market research with expert insight into psychology, architecture and design to deliver top tips for businesses looking to make their office the best it can be in order to support their staff.


Hygiene, sustainability, design and cost efficiency are of utmost importance to our customers, especially as we navigate a new world post COVID-19 and a return to the office. Discover how our brand new Top & Extra systems can assist your transition back to the office.

Supporting the psychological needs of your staff post lock-down

Covid-19 has transformed our working environments and routines. With the recently announced second national lockdown, how do workplaces ensure employees are in the right place psychologically to navigate these changes in the long term?