Staying Hydrated with IBD
When you have to go to the bathroom sixteen to twenty times a day, hydration becomes a key part of your everyday vocabulary. I have a J-Pouch, and the normal baseline for the frequency of bowel movements is around ten. I fall into an interesting group of people who have a higher output. I use the restroom about twenty times a day. If you are thinking to yourself, “Wow, that is crazy,” you are probably right. But I have become so used to it that it is part of my everyday routine. If I only used the bathroom once a day, I would think that there is a problem.
Because I use the bathroom so many times a day, I have to stay hydrated to avoid dehydration. Of course there are so many remedies that you can follow, ways that might be easier for you but I have found a routine that works for me. I usually wake up about three hours before I have to go into work. This gives me enough time to start with my hydration and also to get my stomach settled. I try to stay away from ice-cold water, although it can be refreshing. I had a GI doctor tell me that ice-cold water really speeds up the bowel. Don’t get me wrong, I like my water cold, but I do what I got to do to make it work!
In the winter, I am not outside as much, so I am not as active. During the winter months, I have around three to four bottles of water throughout the course of my day. If I am going to the gym or playing basketball, I will mix water with Gatorade. Gatorade has a lot of artificial sweeteners that do affect my GI tract. However, Gatorade has a lot of great essentials that the body needs to stay hydrated. So, I choose to dilute the Gatorade so it is not as harsh on my stomach.
In the Summer, I increase my water intake by double or even triple the amount. The reason I do that is because I am sweating more, which puts me in more danger of becoming dehydrated. I also work at camp, and am more active outside. What are the downfalls of drinking tons of fluids? Of course you will have to urinate more, so you might need to be near a bathroom. I never seem to have that issue because I always have to go to the bathroom! The other downfall that you might have to keep in mind is being “overhydrated.” Yes, that is a thing, and it could happen. In rare cases, people can become overhydrated or otherwise known as “water intoxication.”
I do get bored from water, as it has no taste. In times when I do get bored, I drink coconut water. Coconut water has all the vitamins and minerals, and usually you can find brands that have no sugar or artificial sweetener.
Most importantly, be vigilant. Stay aware of how much fluid you are putting in your body. I recommend staying away from soft drinks and alcohol, as they do aid with dehydration. Remember the first sign of dehydration is a dry mouth! Stay hydrated!
What type of IBD have you been diagnosed with?