Don’t let dehydration ruin your summer

Ample fluid intake is an essential tenet of good health any time of year—after all, more than half of the human body is made up of water. But in the dog days of summer, dehydration poses a particular threat. And that’s especially true for men with prostate concerns. 

 

Let’s start with one obvious point: Prostate issues directly impact urine flow. Prostate cancer interventions can interrupt urinary function, for example—while BPH can lead to frequency, weak flow, bladder retention, and higher risk of UTIs.

 

Something as second-nature as peeing can easily become a source of anxiety and dread when you’re struggling with your prostate health. And you may be tempted to restrict your water intake as a result.

 

But the truth is that dehydration only causes further irritation to your urinary tract, which will aggravate your symptoms even more. And if you happen to struggle with kidney stones too, steamy summer weather can be a recipe for disaster.

 

Getting the balance right     

 

So how do you know if you’re getting enough water? Well, eight to ten glasses (or 64 to 80 ounces) of water a day is a good general rule of thumb. But with excessive heat and sunshine, you may need more… especially before and after exercise. 

 

One easy way to assess proper hydration is by simply looking at the color of your urine. Healthy urine is going to be pale, almost clear or straw colored. Slightly darker yellow urine means you probably need more water—while more concentrated yellow or amber urine definitely indicates dehydration.    

 

Just remember, timing is everything. Rather than restricting total water intake to limit bathroom breaks, adjust your consumption schedule instead.

 

Spread your water intake throughout the day: Instead of slamming a gallon of water all at once, carry a water bottle with you and get in the habit of taking regular sips. (Generally speaking, if you’re feeling thirsty, you’ve already gone too long without water.)

 

Last but not least, avoid drinking anything a couple hours before bedtime to minimize nighttime trips to the toilet.

 

Common hydration mistakes to avoid

 

Needless to say, not all beverages are created equal where your health is concerned.

 

For starters, you want to be careful with caffeine and alcohol. Both are diuretics and can contribute to dehydration and urinary tract irritation, so moderation (as always) is key.

 

Obviously, you want to avoid sugary and artificially sweetened drinks. (Fresh-squeezed fruit juices are fine in moderation.) And keep in mind that carbonated drinks can be another potential source of bladder irritation.

 

If plain water gets too boring, consider mixing it up with iced teas (again, watch the caffeine and hold the sugar) or throwing in some healthy additions like sliced cucumber, mint, or a few fresh berries for flavor.

 

Finally, avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles—especially if they’ve been baking in the sun. Heat and light leaches notorious endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA and phthalates into every sip. These toxins disturb the normal functioning of hormones like testosterone and estrogen, which (among other risks) can make cancer cells more active.

 

Plain, filtered water (and plenty of it) out of stainless steel or glass is the way to go.

 

Until next time,

 

The XY Wellness Team

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