6 Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body doesn't receive all of the water it needs. Read along to find out the different signs and symptoms that you should pay attention to.
6 Signs of Dehydration

Last update: 26 August, 2019

The human body is made up mostly of water. It’s a vital liquid that can be lost due to heat, sports, urine and many other factors. One of the main symptoms of dehydration is thirst, however, it’s not the only one. In this article, we’ll share all of the signs that indicate dehydration.

The most frequent signs of dehydration

The body cannot function properly when it doesn’t have the liquids it requires. When it comes to dehydration, the following are a few signs that you should keep in mind:

Dry skin

If your skin is dry, it could mean that there’s a lack of water at a cellular level. Dry skin occurs when the volume of blood circulating in the body reduces, causing irrigation problems. Flushed skin is another symptom of dehydration.

Dark urine

When you wake up in the morning and go to the bathroom, you may have noticed that your urine is darker than usual. This occurs because of the long period of time that you have gone without urinating (while you slept).

The same happens when you don’t drink enough water. Therefore, another clear sign of dehydration is reduced urine output and darker urine. When dehydrated, you may go to the bathroom between two to three times a day. In normal conditions, it’s normal to urinate between six to seven times a day.

Keep in mind that urine eliminates toxins and other substances from the body. If you have drunk enough water, your urine should be clear.

Woman hydrating

Muscle cramps and joint pain

Cramps don’t only occur due to exercise, they may also be a sign of dehydration. The muscle spasms usually occur at night and they can be very painful and annoying.

So, what’s the relationship between dehydration and cramps? The lack of fluid reduces blood supply to the muscles which then start to hurt and contract. That’s why it’s so important to drink water during and after training.

Another indicative sign of dehydration is joint pain. When there’s a lack of water, the joints may not be lubricated properly. This causes wear and damage to the cartilage cells can also cause pain and mobility issues.

Weight gain

Sometimes we may confuse the sensation of hunger for thirst. The brain does not know the difference between hunger and thirst!

Take a test: next time you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water. You may notice that your hunger will disappear completely. If you still feel hungry after a while, that means you should have something to eat.

Bad breath

Saliva plays many important roles, including preventing the accumulation of bacteria, preventing tooth decay and reducing bad breath. In order for this to occur, you must have enough water in your system. If your body lacks water, your mouth will become dry and it’s likely that bad breath will occur.

That’s why you should brush your teeth as soon as you wake up in the morning! While sleeping you spend hours without drinking water and without producing enough saliva.


When we think about water, we relate it to urine. However, it’s also important to know that fluids play a role in the production and elimination of feces. If your body lacks fluids, your intestines may not work properly.

Healthy fruits

How to prevent dehydration

Now that you know the main symptoms of dehydration, it’s time to prevent it. How? With the following habits:

  • Drink two liters of water per day (this can include natural juices and herbal teas).
  • Take a bottle of water everywhere you go (or leave one on your desk).
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables (they contain water).
  • Increase fluid intake when you play sports or when the temperatures are high.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothes to prevent you from sweating too much.

If you keep the habits mentioned above in mind, you’ll be able to prevent dehydration. As we previously explained, water is fundamental for the proper functioning of the body.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Martínez Álvarez, J. R., Villarino Marín, A. L., Polanco Allué, I., Iglesias Rosado, C., Gil Gregorio, P., Ramos Cordero, P., … Legido Arce, J. C. (2008). Recomendaciones de bebida e hidratación para la población Española. Nutricion Clinica y Dietetica Hospitalaria.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.