10 Signs of Dehydration

10 Signs of Dehydration

We need to stay hydrated for our general health and wellbeing but dehydration is more common than you might think. It can sneak up on you without you realising, especially if you’re active, it’s a hot day or you simply forget to drink enough water. Knowing the signs to look out for can help you stay hydrated and healthy. Here are ten signs of dehydration to watch out for:

1. Thirst

Thirst is simply the body’s way of telling you that it needs more fluids.  You might be under the impression that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated but it’s a bit more complicated than this because thirst is such a complex mechanism that can be influenced by many factors. That being said, your body has a built-in mechanism to regulate hydration levels, though, so it is important to listen to your body and stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.

2. Dry Mouth and Skin

Dehydration often causes a dry mouth and chapped lips. Your skin might also become dry and less elastic. To check skin elasticity (also called turgor), gently lift up the skin on the back of your hand; if it doesn’t spring back right away, you might be dehydrated.

3. Dark-Coloured Urine

There is an 8-point system for checking hydration using the colour of your urine from 1 (pale yellow or clear) to 8 (dark greenish brown).  The darker your urine, the more dehydrated you might be, indicating that you need to drink more water. Bear in mind that diet and vitamin intake can also affect urine colour.

Image from the NHS website

4. Fatigue

When you’re dehydrated, your body conserves energy by slowing down. Your blood fluid volume (the total amount of fluid in cells and plasma) drops and your heart has to work harder to pump nutrients, oxygen and fluid. This can make you feel tired, sluggish, and less motivated. Hydrating properly can help keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

5. Dizziness and Confusion

Dehydration can cause your blood pressure to drop, leading to poor circulation and reduced blood flow to your brain.  This can cause dizziness or light-headedness and in severe cases, it can even cause confusion and disorientation. If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down and drink water slowly.

6. Headaches

Picture your brain like a sponge that needs water to stay soft. Lack of fluids can cause the sponge to dry out and get a bit smaller, pulling away from the skull and causing pain. Drinking water can help alleviate these headaches.

7. Muscle Cramps

We’ve all suffered at the mercy of muscle cramps, that sudden, involuntary contraction causing intense pain that can last from seconds to minutes.  Muscles need fluids and electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to function properly, so it’s imperative to keep hydrated and look after your muscles.

8. Rapid Heartbeat and Breathing

When you’re dehydrated, your blood volume drops, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood and maintain oxygen levels. This can lead to a rapid heartbeat and faster breathing.

9. Dry Eyes and Blurred Vision

Dehydration affects more than just your blood and brain - it impacts your entire body, including your eyes.  Reduced fluid levels can decrease tear production, leading to dry eyes and potentially blurred vision.

10. Decreased Urination

If you realise that you’re not going to the toilet as often as usual, it could be a sign that you’re dehydrated.  This is because your body is trying to conserve water, resulting in less frequent urination. It’s important to listen to your body’s signals to make sure that you’re staying adequately hydrated.

How to Stay Hydrated

Here are a few tips to help you maintain good hydration levels to look after your overall health:

  • Drink Water Regularly: You will probably have heard the "8 glasses a day" rule, but it’s more important to listen to your body. Drink when you're thirsty and ensure you're drinking enough to keep your urine light yellow or clear.
  • Eat Water-Rich Foods: Make sure to add fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cucumbers, melon and oranges, into your diet.

  • Use Electrolyte Supplements: If you’re active or sweat a lot, consider using electrolyte supplements like Recuperol’s electrolyte powder to replenish lost minerals and fluids. This can be especially helpful for maintaining your hydration levels during intense physical activity or hot weather.


Recognising the signs of dehydration and taking steps to stay hydrated can make a significant difference in your overall health. Keep an eye on your fluid intake, especially during the hotter months or when you’re particularly active. Stay hydrated, stay healthy!

For more detailed tips and information, check out our blog and discover the benefits of proper hydration.

Additional Resources

For more information on dehydration and tips to stay hydrated, check out these resources:

  1. Mayo Clinic: Dehydration
  2. NHS: Dehydration
  3. Harvard Health: The importance of staying hydrated
  4. CDC: Water and Healthier Drinks

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