Possible side effects of not drinking enough water

Insufficient water in the body can cause side effects as about 60% of the human body is water. The body needs to maintain hydration levels to fuel cells and keep it functioning.

A man pouring out drinking water

Water is super important for good health. It helps with everything going on in the body. While water can be obtained from foods (especially those with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, bell peppers, and tomatoes), water from food is still not sufficient to hydrate the body.

Many people don't know there are some dangerous side effects of not drinking enough water. Some people also make the mistake of taking too much of drinks like alcohol which can cause dehydration. If you take a glass of beer, it is advisable to pair it with a glass of water.

So, what happens if you don't drink enough? Here are some potential side effects of not drinking enough water.

Low Energy

One of the side effects of not drinking enough water is reduced energy. When dehydrated, you might notice your energy levels plummet, as water helps keep your mind alert and the body balanced.

If you're not drinking plenty of water during the day, that afternoon slump will hit even harder, and you might feel too tired to continue with work or make it to your evening workout.

Keep a water bottle on hand to remind you to drink throughout the day consistently.

Higher Risk of Stroke

Stroke is another side effect of not drinking enough water. According to a study in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, not drinking enough water and being dehydrated can raise the risk of strokes and prolong recovery time, if you've had one.

So, to keep your heart in tip-top shape, pay attention to how much you're drinking. If your pee is yellow or you feel faint, drink some water pronto.

Slower Metabolism

One side effect of not drinking enough water is a slower metabolism. Your metabolism also naturally slows down when you're thirsty.

Metabolism is the chemical reaction that takes place in the body that changes food to energy. Living cells only get energy when food is metabolized and converted to ATP. Thus, metabolism is needed to sustain life.

As studies have shown; 17 ounces of water (around two glasses) can increase the metabolism by 30%, which is substantial when you're looking to lose weight.


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Since your brain needs water; lack of water can lead to headaches and fatigue. This is one of the most common side effects of not drinking enough water.

In a dehydrated state, the brain may temporarily shrink (or contract) due to loss of fluid. When shrinking, the brain pulls away from the skull. This can cause the pain experienced during headaches.

There is not enough research to support this notion that not drinking enough water causes headaches but that doesn't mean that dehydration headache is not real. More research needs to be carried out on this topic.

So, before taking medication, have some water first and rest. That head pain might go away without you needing to take any other measures.

Poor Skin Health

In order to stay dewy and young, the skin needs to be hydrated; it needs enough water. One of the side effects of not drinking enough water is poor skin health.

Not drinking enough can increase the effects of aging and make skin look drier, flakier, wrinklier, and just not as fresh as you'd like. With insufficient water, collagen can crack, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.

That's why people that desire a soft, supple look need moisturizing, hydrating products in a skin-care regimen to complement their water intake.

Weight Gain

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Another possible side effect of not drinking enough water is weight gain. While a little gain isn't really bad, if it continues over time, particularly in the belly region, it can put you at risk for various chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and more.

This is where water comes in. Drinking water can even help you lose weight and lower water retention.

Also, you will likely consume fewer calories by filling up on the rejuvenating liquid and preventing confusion between hunger and thirst cues.


Sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger, so it's smart to drink water when you have a food craving instead of digging right into the cookie jar.

It is also a good idea to drink water before sitting down to a meal, as you may consume fewer calories and you'll have a better sense of your hunger cues and appetite, as shown in some studies.

Water can prevent you from being super-hungry as you sit down to eat, and listening to your thirst and hunger cues can give you insight into what your body really wants.


Unless you want to isolate people at the office, get your drinking regimen checked, as dehydration can make you irritable and cranky.

Two studies at the University of Connecticut studied both men and women on a series of cognitive tests, and they saw that being dehydrated led them to a bad mood, drowsiness, and even headaches.

Weaker Workouts

Another side effect of not drinking enough water is that it can make you get weak fast during your workout. You're losing electrolytes and water when you're sweating, so it's important to drink before, during, and after working out to replenish lost stores.

As shown in a study in Physiological Reports, your workouts might suffer from a lack of water, and your body might not burn as much fat.