The Importance of Staying Hydrated with IBD

Our Service Coordinator Christina was asked to share her knowledge about staying hydrated with IBD for this month's CCFA newsletter.


Patients with IBD can get dehydrated very easily. This mostly occurs because of increased water loss during a flare, thus making it even more important to rehydrate your body properly. Your body is made up more than half of its body weight in water.  Water is necessary for every cell and organ to function properly.  It helps in maintaining body temperature, keeping the blood flowing through your body, lubricating joints and removing waste. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, digestion and illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, it is important to always stay hydrated.  Diarrhea is a common symptom of GI diseases and is the leading cause of dehydration. Diarrhea causes the body to lose fluids and electrolytes quickly, which must be replaced to prevent dehydration. In most cases you can restore most of your body’s fluid through drinking water with added electrolytes and through a proper diet.

The intestines play the biggest role in keeping us hydrated. So if you are dealing with intestinal issues, it is extremely important to rehydrate yourself. The intestines actually work with the kidneys to control the level of fluids in the body.  When you are dealing with diarrhea or other intestinal issues, you should increase your water intake so you can restore your body’s natural hydration levels. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water; this is not enough.  Thirst is a sign that you are already dehydrated.

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If you have difficulty drinking large amounts of water, try to drink small amounts all throughout the day.  Set an alarm for every hour, and when it goes off, drink an eight-ounce glass of water.  Try drinking water through a straw or adding ice cubes, this also helps if you have difficulty drinking water.  There are no set ounces of water you should drink during the day, especially if you are having difficulty with diarrhea. Some other warning signs of dehydration include fatigue, dry mouth, decreased urination, dizziness and headache. One of the best indicators of dehydration is the color of your urine.  If it is dark yellow, you need to drink more water.  Drinking water on a regular daily basis can help decrease your chances of becoming dehydrated and feeling fatigue or dizziness.