We know that keeping adequately hydrated is important for our health - after all, around 60% percent of the body is made up of water.
Many of us don’t realise the full impact that hydration levels can have on our periods - from regularity, to period cramps to weight management and subsequent hormone levels and functioning.
Ensuring that we’re consuming an adequate amount of water each day means that we are providing our bodies with the important hydrogen and oxygen levels for proper cell function, digestive health and means that we are able to operate at our optimal levels. Reproductive health is often one of the first elements to suffer, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on our cycles, regularity and wellbeing.
Oestrogen and progesterone - the two powerful hormones involved in a woman’s menstrual cycle also influence your body’s hydration levels in the lead up to a period. This, together with blood loss during your period means that drinking an extra glass or two of water will help stabilise hydration levels, keep cramps at bay and stave off any fatigue, headaches and fogginess.
Dehydration is commonly confused with hunger, which can result in inadvertent weight gain, which has a knock on effect with hormonal balance. Exercise forms a crucial part of well being - as does adequate hydration before and after exercise. It’s important to support any exercise with additional hydration and to bear in mind that in warmer weather, this amount may need to be further increased.
We get it - the daily grind can get overwhelming - and with work deadlines, those 3 cups of coffee and back-to-back meetings, drinking those glasses of water (and subsequent loo trips) can be difficult to manage.
Keeping an eye on your hydration levels can often be made easier by filling a large drinking bottle with water and keeping this with you, slowly sipping from it throughout the day. Setting a reminder on your phone to take a few sips every 15 minutes can be a great way to get into the habit, so that you can enjoy the increased levels of energy and concentration without the urgent toilet trips that can come about from sculling 300ml of water every few hours.
How to spot dehydration:
Ok- this is a fairly obvious one however it’s definitely something to pay attention too. Does your mouth feel sticky? Feeling thirsty is the brain's way of warning you that you're already dehydrated. If you are feeling “hungry” only an hour or two after a recent meal, have some water before you get tempted by the office biscuits, as it may be thirst that you‘re feeling!
If you're dehydrated, your urine may be dark in colour and strong-smelling. This is because when you don't have enough water in your body, your kidneys do their best to retain it, meaning that your urine becomes darker and more concentrated. The lighter and more transparent your urine is, the more hydrated you are. A handy test!
Many assume that if they have dry eyes, it's caused by looking at a computer screen, tiredness, or from the air conditioning. All of the above could be contributors - but dry eyes and lips can also be caused by dehydration. If you find that your lips are peeling and that your eyes are red and sore, make sure that you up your water intake.
Like dry eyes, a lot of people assume that headaches are caused by stress and from looking at a computer screen all day long. In fact, there are many causes of headaches like poor posture, stress and the beginnings of colds - and dehydration is one of them.
You might have noticed that if you take part in strenuous activities or exercise, you feel dizzy and lightheaded afterward. This is caused by losing water through sweating, meaning that there’s a strong chance that you're dehydrated.
So there you have it, ladies. Isn’t the human body a complicated and wondrous piece of complex engineering?!