The Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Dehydration

There are many different signs and symptoms to look for when dehydrated. In fact, your body only needs to lose as little as 2% of its total body weight through fluid before the signs and symptoms of dehydration start to appear. This can often occur through vomiting, excessive urine, or even diarrhea.

As soon as any of these symptoms occur, you should start consuming an oral rehydration solution, like Hydralyte, to ensure you are replacing the fluid and electrolytes rapidly and effectively.

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You may experience different signs and symptoms depending on your age and/or medical conditions. Learn more about what dehydrates you:


What Dehydrates You?

While there are some common everyday substances that dehydrate us like alcohol and caffeine, there are some less common causes of dehydration that people should be mindful of.

Foods and Drinks That Dehydrate You

  • Protein – High intakes of protein can lead to frequent bathroom trips. Because the body must use more water to breakdown certain components of protein, this can lead to more than usual fluid loss.
  • Asparagus – Asparagus carries a diuretic named asparagine, which has the potential to increase your urine output.
  • Cured Meats – These delicious snacks are packed with protein and salt. That combination is a fast track to dehydration. Be sure to up your water intake to prevent any mild dehydration that may occur.
  • Fried Foods – Not only do these foods seriously impact your blood pressure, they can also leave you dehydrated due to their high sodium salt content.
  • High Sugar Drinks – Sugary drinks can confuse you into thinking you’re hydrated, but in fact the lasting effects are doing the complete opposite. Fruit juices and sports drinks are packed with sugar and ultimately leave you more dehydrated, since your body needs to use more water to process them.

Common Dehydration Symptoms Include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine (deep yellow)

Poor hydration can result in more than just extreme thirst. These signs of dehydration typically indicate mild to moderate dehydration. However, if these symptoms are not identified and treated soon enough, they can result in severe dehydration. Severe dehydration can result in symptoms such as low blood pressure, fever, and in some cases, even seizures.

It’s important to understand the science behind rehydration and how the body depends on maintaining those optimal hydration levels.

Note: If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, consult your doctor immediately. 

What Do I Do When I’m Dehydrated?

If you’re able to spot the early signs and symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration, then you may be able to manage them before your dehydration becomes too severe.

Treatment Options for Children and Infants

If your child is experiencing dehydration symptoms due to sweating, diarrhea and vomiting, or simply not enough fluid, be sure to consult your physician.

There are some solutions that will help replenish the fluids lost due to mild to moderate dehydration, such as an oral rehydration solution. Health Canada recommends that children who are experiencing dehydration avoid sugary drinks, as they contain extra calories and sugars that could lead to child obesity and tooth decay.

Increasing the fluid intake is often recommended as the principle solution for child dehydration. But in some moderate cases, water is not enough to rehydrate them. Drinking too much water could leave your child at risk of developing a stomach cramp. Consuming small amounts of a low sugar rehydration solutions, like Hydralyte, will rapidly replenish any electrolytes, important for helping the body retain fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea, as well as heavy sweating.

Learn more about managing dehydration in children.

Treatment Options for Adults

Treating dehydration in adults isn’t too different from how you would treat a child. Once you start noticing early signs of dehydration look for ways to replenish your body’s water and electrolytes. Electrolytes help carry out many of the body’s essential day to day cell functions.

Electrolyte Tablets

These tablets allow you to replenish both the necessary electrolytes and water that your body needs to feel well hydrated. Hydralyte’s effervescent tablets travel well and are great to keep on hand, for whenever signs of dehydration may arise.

Electrolyte Powder

Electrolyte powders are a quick and easy way to restore the body’s fluids and electrolytes. These easily dissolvable powders are great for keeping in a medicine cabinet or for post-workout rehydration.

Electrolyte Drinks

Not all electrolyte drinks are created equal. Popular sports drinks that boast electrolyte replenishment are often packed with sugar. Hydralyte’s ready to drink solutions have 4x the electrolytes of the leading sports beverage with 75% less sugar.


Did you know?

Feeling thirsty is not always the first symptom of dehydration. Be alert for other signs and symptoms of dehydration (such as a dry mouth, dizziness and tiredness) as these may happen before you become thirsty.

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