Dehydration is a major risk factor for a common condition among men: kidney stones. When you don’t replace the fluids your body loses, you produce less urine.
If you don’t have enough, the amount of waste material in the urine may be more than the liquid needed to neutralize it and carry it out of the body. When this happens, urine becomes concentrated, and the material that forms kidney stones can come together more easily.
Kidney stones, which are typically tiny, form when minerals and chemicals in the urine merge. More than 10% of men can expect to have a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones cause severe pain when they become stuck in the urinary tract as they make their way out of the body, but discomfort isn’t the only reason to take them seriously. They can also damage the kidneys, lead to urinary tract infections, and may increase stroke and heart disease risks.
The best way to prevent most kidney stones – and avoid dehydration – is to drink enough fluids each day. Aim for consuming two to three liters of fluid a day, most of which should be water.
“Keep a one-liter water bottle with you and fill it up in the morning and again after lunch,” said Timothy Grayson, MD, urologist at Urology Associates of Archbold. “That way you can easily make sure you’re drinking enough water. If it’s a hot day or you’re working outdoors, increase your intake accordingly.”
Spotting the Signs of Dehydration
If your body was crying out for more fluids, would you know it? Thirst may be the most obvious symptom of dehydration, but it’s not the only one. Brush up on identifying dehydration with these tips:
- Assess your energy level. If you feel unusually lethargic, dehydration could be the reason.
- Feel your skin. Dry skin can indicate dehydration.
- Listen to your body. Signs you need more fluids include headache, lightheadedness, muscle cramps and dry mouth.
- Scrutinize your waste – or lack thereof. If you’re dehydrated, you may urinate less than normal, and you may become constipated. The urine you produce may be darker than usual.
Urology Associates of Archbold specializes in helping men overcome common conditions, such as kidney stones. Learn more at archbold.org/urology-services.