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The excessive loss of water from the body is called dehydration. Dehydration can happen in various ways due to diseases for the gastrointestinal tract. Most commonly dehydration becomes the major problem in an otherwise self-timed illness. Severe fluid loss may sometimes become even life-threatening.

Though sufficient information and understanding is required in order to avoid the effects of dehydration,the treatment preferably should be individualized,and your physician should be contacted before using any of the measures mentioned below.

The human body requires a certain amount of fluid intake every day to function properly. The minimum requirement is around one liter. Fluid requirements however vary with levels of activity and age, but more active persons need two to three times this basic amount. The basic fluid intake helps to replace the fluids which are required to perform normal body functions. When we take in less or lose more fluid than is actually needed, it results in dehydration.


Excessive loss of fluid through the intestinal tract may occur when the intestine gets "inflamed" or damaged, or when bacteria or viruses causes the intestinal lining to produce more fluid than can be absorbed. This can happen in cases of diarrhea due gastroenteritis and also in surgical conditions of the abdomen.

Abnormal connections that may be present between parts of the intestinal tract like fistulae may also lead to fluid loss. A decrease in oral liquid intake may happen due to nausea or loss of appetite; this may be worsened by assoicated vomiting. Some medications also can cause an increase in fluid loss. Earlier surgery of the intestine(ileum) may make a person more prone to dehydrations. Yet another cause of fluid loss from the body could be 'sun stroke' occurring during summer.


One of the most reliable clues to indicate dehydration is a quick drop in body weight. This loss may be several kilograms in a few days(or at times even hours). A sudden drop of above 10%(six kilograms in a person weighing 60 kilograms) is considered to be severe. Symptoms are sometimes difficult to distinguish from those of the original illness. Generally, the following signs indicate dehydration: a dry mouth, increasing thirst,weakness or lightheadedness(usually one that worsens on standing), darkening of the urine, or a decrease in urination.

Serve dehydration may result in changes in the body's chemical composition, kidney failure, and may even be life-threatening.

Treatment and Prevention

It is recommended that this beverage be taken in small, frequent sips. It is most of the time tolerated, when there is nausea and vomiting. Several commercial preparations are also available,but before use, your physican should be contacted to decided which replacement solution best suits the person.

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