- Publish Date
- Saturday, 2 September 2017, 5:45PM
It's hard to keep track of advice telling us how much water to drink.
Some say we need eight glasses a day, but recently the Mayo Clinic said we could need as much as 15 glasses.
To be on the safe side, many simply chug as much water as possible.
But experts warn that may not be the best course of action.
While water is necessary for your skin, immune system and energy levels, glugging it down in huge quantities can be pointless or even counterproductive.
Daily Mail Online spoke with Dr Stephanie Long, a family practitioner with One Medical in San Francisco, about the healthy way people should consume water.
Thirst is controlled by the sodium levels in the body, which can significantly increase during an intense workout.
Chugging water can actually cause people to need to urinate more, which could create problems for the heart or kidneys.
That is an extreme side effect. However, even those who don't fall ill needn't bother with this approach: consuming so much so quickly is too much for the body to hold.
Dr Long recommends listening to the body when deciding how much water to drink.
'When we need more water, our body has detected we have a lot of salt,' Dr Long said.
It isn't necessary most of the time to chug water because small amounts are adequate to rehydrate the body.
'There is an interplay between your brain and body that tells you to not to drink more,' Dr Long said.
Sometimes people will feel the need to chug water after an intense workout to rehydrate themselves.
This is fine, but only if done briefly and if the person stops after they have quenched their thirst.
Dr Long explained that it isn't necessary unless someone was running a marathon or doing a lot of cardio for a long period of time.
This is when more athletes decide to consume drinks that are filled with electrolytes to replenish these stores quicker in the body.
If you chug water for too long, it can cause a large intake of air into the body.
This is called hyponatremia and can lead to problems in the heart, kidneys and stomach.
People with hyponatremia experience nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness.
Dr Long said it takes a lot of water to get to this stage.
'It is more of a problem for kiddos and people on an illegal substance,' Dr Long said.
The brain works to trigger the body when it has taken in enough water to balance out the sodium levels.
Sometimes, though, this feedback mechanism can be broken if someone is on an illegal drug or suffers a brain injury.
Typically, Dr Long recommends people to drink their baseline and then whatever else is depleted at a regular pace throughout the day.
Men should drink three liters while women should drink a little over two liters.
These numbers could differ depending on the size of the person and how physically active they are.
One way to know if you're drinking too much too quickly is if you're constantly having to urinate.
This can cause your bladder to shrink and give the signal that you have to go more than you really do.
'When you go to the bathroom really frequently, your water balloon (bladder) decides it doesn't want to blow up as much,' Dr Long said.
The bladder is one organ that is trainable so it can go back to its normal size if the person wants to better control when they urinate.
Source: Daily Mail.