Preventing dehydration

Dehydration is very common, can sneak up on you and can be quite scary. Learn about the common causes, symptoms and how to avoid dehydration.

glass of water

What is dehydration?

The term dehydration means a significant loss of bodily fluids. Patients can develop dehydration from treatments and treatment side effects. Dehydration symptoms range from mild to moderate to more severe depending on how much fluid is lost and not replaced. Severe dehydration could be a life-threatening condition.

What are common causes of dehydration in cancer patients?

Most common causes of dehydration in cancer patients:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Sweating and night sweats
  • Limited eating or drinking due to nausea, mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, and digestive problems

How do I prevent dehydration?

Helpful tips for preventing dehydration:

  • Sip water or ice chips throughout the day
  • Choose drinks that contain electrolytes (low-sugar varieties of sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade)
  • Try water infused with fresh fruit for added flavor and nutrients - berries, citrus, etc.
  • Increase water intake prior to cancer treatments or procedures
  • Increase water and fluid intake if you live in a warm/hot climate or before/during exercise

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Some common symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Extreme thirst (but not always, so be careful)
  • Dry mouth
  • Taunt, dry skin
  • Headache
  • Less frequent urination
  • Darker urine
  • Irritability

If you experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, severe irritability, or confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, or seizures
  • Low blood pressure or blood pressure that drops quickly
  • Lack of urination or a very dark yellow/amber or brown colored urine

Hydration Recipes for Ostomates

Dehydration can be a risk for ostomates, as the main function of the large intestine is to absorb water. When dehydrated, this can cause issues with electrolytes and kidney function. Adding Oral Rehydration Solutions to your day can replace the electrolytes and fluids needed.

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