In his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj notes that one of the greatest tragedies of medical history was the assumption that a dry mouth is the only sign of the body’s need for water.
You may need to drink more than you think!
Chronic water shortage in the body can create cellular damage from a loss of cellular function and versatility, to dell death, especially as regards the insulin-producing cells. The resultant decreased enzyme function and can lead to a vast array of diseases. Use and over-use of salt and sugar add to conditions of dehydration.
The Thirst Mechanism
Thirst is a general mouth sensation of dryness. But many more intricate and sophisticated bodily signs can indicate when signal that the body needs water. Often we are too busy to respond, let alone try to figure out what each and every one of these signs indicates.
Thirst sensations are often unreliable and can even be altered by disease and other manifestations of poor health. For example, dry mouth* can be an indication of dehydration, yet it is often one of the very last indicators of dehydration. The problem is that once this indicator of bodily water shortage occurs, many delicate functions of the body have already begun to be or have been shut down.
If you are on medications, are elderly or have problems such as heart disease, stomach ulcers and diabetes your thirst mechanism can actually be altered. Individuals with kidney stones or chronic urinary tract infections may require more fluids than the body may indicate. Each of us needs to make sure we know where you stand regarding our health or ill-health and our body’s need for water.
Thirst is relieved immediately after drinking water, even before the water has been absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. When water enters the stomach, the distension of the stomach and other portions of the upper gastrointestinal tract provide yet more relief from feeling thirst. This however is only temporary relief. After a you drink water it can take as long as half an hour to a full hour for all of it to be absorbed and distributed throughout the body.
The word dehydration has several different meanings* all of which can be applied to the human body.
In medicine what dehydration refers to a condition that needs treating or it could be fatal. But in chemistry dehydration means the loss of two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen atom. It is the process of removing water from a substance or compound. With the human body it means an excessive loss of water from the body or from an organ or a body part.
Dry mouth, as well, is not necessarily a sign of dehydration. The mucus membranes of the mouth can become dried out for instance when the mouth is opened for a long time exposing the cells to the atmosphere where moisture is pulled from the exposed cells. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the delicate functions of the body are experiencing a drought.