About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Five Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration you Should Not Ignore

Last Updated on May 28, 2016
Font : A-A+

What is Dehydration?

Did you know that your body is made up of nearly 65 percent water? An integral part of nearly all your bodily functions depends on water and without water; you could suffer from a number of acute illnesses, like dehydration.


The common cause of dehydration is when your body loses more water than the amount you drink; some of the most common causes of dehydration are - drinking less water during summer, diarrhea, vomiting, spending a lot of time in the heat, vigorous exercise, and excessive sweating.

While simply drinking a glass of water at regular intervals may help ward off the onset of the ailment, but it may not be enough in cases of extreme heat or sweating. In such an instance, keeping an eye out for the common signs of dehydration can go a long way.

Experts suggest that the best way to stay healthy is to prevent the onset of dehydration, but if you do notice some of the common symptoms of the condition, remember that mild to moderate dehydration can be reversed by drinking more fluids. In cases, where the dehydration is severe, it is best to visit a doctor immediately.

So to help you identify the signs of dehydration, here are 5 common symptoms you should look out for.


Five Symptoms of Dehydration

Depending on the amount of fluid lost from your body, dehydration can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Mild to moderate dehydration can be treated by making simple changes to your intake of fluids; in cases of severe dehydration, you must visit a doctor immediately.

Here are some common symptoms:

  1. Thirst: It is one of the early signs of dehydration. Feeling extremely thirsty could be a sign that your body needs more water or fluids to function optimally.
  2. Dark Colored Urine: Another early sign of dehydration; dark colored urine is your body’s way of reducing the loss of fluids from your body. If left unchecked, dehydration can have a cascading effect and lead to UTI (urinary tract infection) and kidney problems.
  3. Fatigue: The loss of water from your body can disturb all the essential processes of your body. This lack of fluids, especially electrolytes leads to tiredness, lethargy, and irritability.
  4. Dizziness or Light Headedness: These are common symptoms of dehydration; you might feel dizzy or light headed when your body is not able to efficiently circulate electrolytes and blood throughout the body. The best way to combat this symptom is to lie down and drink plenty of fluids – allowing your body to recuperate.
  5. Headache: You might notice the onset of a headache right after you have spent a long time in the heat or sun, overexerted yourself or have sweat too much. Headache is an indicator of dehydration, which can be treated by rehydrating yourself by drinking fluids rich in electrolytes.

In severe cases of dehydration, noticing symptoms such as, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, low blood pressure and rapid breathing is fairly common. In such instances, make sure you visit a trained physician immediately.


Symptoms of Dehydration in Babies

Babies and infants are very susceptible to dehydration as they have a developing biological system. Apart from that, the sheer size of their body puts them at high risk of suffering from this condition. If you think your baby might be dehydrated, here are a few symptoms you should look out for.

  • Shrunken or depressed fontanelle
  • Rapid breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of tears when crying
  • Irritability and lethargy
  • Cold hands and feet with appearance of blotchy skin
  • Dark yellow colored urine and fewer wet nappies.

Remember, if your child shows symptoms of dehydration, then do not give your child only water, as this will only lead to more damage as water tends to wash out their already depleting resources of electrolytes making the situation worse. Instead, use an oral rehydrating solution (ORS) to replenish lost electrolytes.

Signs of Dehydration in Pregnant and Lactating Women

Pregnant and lactating women are at a greater risk of suffering from dehydration. This is because during pregnancy and lactation your body needs more water to perform essential bodily functions and aid in the development of your baby.

Incidentally, severe dehydration during pregnancy can lead to several complications including, neural tube defects in your child, low amniotic fluid, an insufficient amount of breast milk production and even premature labor.

Symptoms during Pregnancy: Water plays an essential role in the healthy development of your little one. Not only it is helpful for the placenta, but it is also used to form the amniotic sac. Common signs include:

  • Dark colored urine
  • Feeling extremely hot or sweating too much. A condition also known as maternal overheating, this is when your body temperature rises above normal.

While Lactating: As you breastfeed, you do tend to lose a lot more fluids from your body. Therefore, protecting yourself from dehydration is essential for both you and your baby. While several studies have shown that in cases of mild to moderate dehydration the quality of breast milk is not affected; but in severe cases, it may lower your breast milk’s micronutrient content. The common symptoms you should watch out for during lactation are fatigue, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, lowered blood pressure and irritability.

How to Stay Hydrated:

  • Drink Enough Water: Water is perfect to replenish lost fluids from your body. Sipping on water throughout the day is a great way to stay hydrated, and lower your body’s temperature, so it works optimally.
  • Don’t Skip the Electrolytes: Electrolytes are also an integral part of your body’s functions; therefore replenishing them is essential. If you are looking for a simple way to recharge your electrolyte reserves, simply drink a glass of lemon juice with salt and sugar two to three times a day. The salt and sugar content along with the citric acid and vitamin C will help you to give that energy boost you need.
  • Eat Fruits and Vegetables: Both fruits and vegetables are very rich sources of macro and micro nutrients, electrolytes, and energy – all of which help keep your body’s fluid levels in check and keep you hydrated.


  1. Dehydration - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/definition/con-20030056)
  2. About Dehydration - (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000982.htm)
  3. Dehydration During Pregnancy - (http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/dehydration-pregnancy/)
  4. Horowitz M, Higgins GD, Graham JJ, Berriman H, Harding PE. Effect of modification of fluid intake in the puerperium on serum prolactin levels and lactation. Med J Aust. 1980; 2(11):625-6.
  5. Prentice AM, Lamb WH, Prentice A, Coward WA. The effect of water abstention on milk synthesis in lactating women. Clin Sci(Lond). 1984 Mar;66(3):291-8.

Latest Publications and Research on Five Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration you Should Not Ignore

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Pavitra Sampath. (2016, May 28). Five Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration you Should Not Ignore. Medindia. Retrieved on May 22, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/five-symptoms-and-signs-of-dehydration-you-should-not-ignore.htm.

  • MLA

    Pavitra Sampath. "Five Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration you Should Not Ignore". Medindia. May 22, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/five-symptoms-and-signs-of-dehydration-you-should-not-ignore.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Pavitra Sampath. "Five Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration you Should Not Ignore". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/five-symptoms-and-signs-of-dehydration-you-should-not-ignore.htm. (accessed May 22, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Pavitra Sampath. 2021. Five Symptoms and Signs of Dehydration you Should Not Ignore. Medindia, viewed May 22, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/five-symptoms-and-signs-of-dehydration-you-should-not-ignore.htm.

Do you wish to consult a General Medicine Doctor / Internal Medicine Doctor for your problem? Ask your question

Dr. Vidisha X
Dr. Vidisha X
12 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Dr. Pintu Bhut
Dr. Pintu Bhut
7 years experience
Maruti Clinic, VIP Circle
Teleconsult Now View Profile
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.

Health Topics A - Z

    What's New on Medindia
    Prevent Hacking of Medical Devices: FDA Sounds Alarm
    Black Water: Benefits and Uses
    World Hypertension Day 2022 - Measure Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Indian Medical Journals Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) Daily Calorie Requirements Selfie Addiction Calculator Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) Accident and Trauma Care Sanatogen How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Noscaphene (Noscapine)

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use