Why is water so important during the menopause?
Our bodies are at least 75% water and if we neglect our water intake this can cause a whole raft of symptoms that can look suspiciously like menopausal ones, such as:
Joints – dehydration can cause joint inflammation and pain.
Skin – imagine a lovely, juicy, ripe plum: the skin is firm, plump and soft. Now imagine a prune: the skin is rough, wrinkly and tough. That’s dehydration for you! Dehydration can trigger itchy skin too.
Mood – dehydration can cause mood swings, anxiety/panic attacks, and stress palpitations.
Memory – dehydration can affect brain function, causing fuzziness and forgetfulness.
Headaches – dehydration is also a common trigger for headaches.
Constipation/bloating – dehydration slows down gut motility and elimination.
Hot Flushes – dehydration can affect the nervous system, which triggers hot flushes. Water is doubly important here because if you sweat a lot with the flushes that will dehydrate you even further, causing a vicious circle!
Fatigue – dehydration can affect our energy levels.
Bladder problems and infections – dehydration can irritate the bladder.
Night palpitations – these can actually be caused by dehydration, especially if you have night sweats.
Now you would think that drinking water would be easy-peasy, but many of us find drinking water difficult or we don’t like the taste. Drinking too much tea, coffee, alcohol or fizzy drinks doesn’t count towards hydration – they flush water out of your body, causing dehydration, so drinking lots of these definitely won’t help! Trying to fit drinking water into the working day can be hard so I have come up with a little plan that I find helps me.
Just bear in mind that fizzy water and flavoured water, especially if it has sugar or artificial sweeteners in it, definitely doesn’t count as a part of your daily water intake! Don’t drink really cold water either, as this can disrupt your digestion – best to have at room temperature or warm. If you don’t drink plain water at all and wish to try this regime, start by adding one glass of water a day for a few days then slowly increase your intake. If you suddenly start drinking lots of water you may find yourself running to the toilet all day; taking it slowly will allow your kidneys to adapt.
How to increase your water intake
You are aiming to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day and although that sounds a lot, if you break it down it can be quite easy to manage.
First trick is to start the day with a glass of water as soon as you get up. Have it warm to help kick start your metabolism.
Drinking little and often is much better for you than gulping down big glasses of water all at once.
I have a really pretty 1 litre bottle which I fill when I get into work. I sit it in front of me so I see it all the time and I aim to have it finished by the time I leave at 5pm. Just a little bit of water in a glass every now and then and I don’t really notice I am drinking it.
Have one last glass of water early evening and that is you done!
If you try this let me know how you get on and which symptoms it has helped you with.