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7 Strange Signs of Dehydration

Being thirsty is a clear sign of dehydration – but did you know that the body gives you a wide range of hints when your water level is running low? From headaches to dry skin, there are many signs of dehydration that we often don’t associate with a need for more water.

Before assuming the worst about a certain symptom, it’s important to consider that you may just be dehydrated! Take a look at these seven common signs of dehydration that we often overlook.

Dry Skin

Moisture is essential for healthy, glowing skin, and sometimes the best bet isn’t a fancy cream or salve – it’s water! Dermatologists assert that if you’re not drinking enough water, it will be apparent in your skin. Dry skin – or skin that wrinkles when you pinch and release it rather than holding its shape – can often be remedied by upping your intake of water.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. In addition to having good oral hygiene, saliva helps keep bad breath in check with its antibacterial qualities. Dehydration can hinder the amount of saliva in your mouth, thereby allowing bacteria to build up faster. So, in a roundabout way, bad breath may be a warning sign of dehydration!


When the body becomes low on water, serotonin levels can be impacted, leading to bothersome headaches. Plus, small blood vessels in the brain also respond to lower water levels in the body – another contributing factor to headaches that stem from dehydration.

Sugar Cravings

Believe it or not, sugar cravings may be another sign of dehydration – one that is more likely to show up if you’ve been working out. Physical exertion often draws energy from glycogen, or stored carbohydrates, which can lead the body into masking dehydration as a sugar craving.


Another strange sign of dehydration? Constipation. Water is absolutely vital in helping the colon function properly. When you’re dehydrated, the body may being drawing moisture from stool, making waste denser and harder to pass. Though constipation has many other causes, it can be one sign of dehydration.

Dark-Colored Urine

Here’s another clue to look for in the bathroom – check out the color of your urine. In general, the clearer it is, the more hydrated you are. This means that dark-colored urine may be a sign of dehydration. Sometimes you can actually see the color change happen throughout the day, so pay attention to see if the color of your urine lightens up after drinking more water.

Muscle Cramps

The body has such a fascinating way of protecting itself. When it senses that water levels are getting low, it will slow down blood circulation and shift fluids toward more vital organs – and away from areas that are deemed less important, like calves and thigh muscles. These areas can then cramp up and feel quite uncomfortable.

Though all of these signs may be linked to dehydration, they are also very common symptoms of other issues going on in the body. Maintaining sufficient hydration is just one step towards overall health, so stay in tune with your body and be sure to seek medical advice if any symptoms linger for an extended period of time.

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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