Don’t get thirsty? Don’t like water…or forget to drink it? Sick of having to visit the bathroom constantly when you do try to drink more water? If you answered yes to any of those questions, please read this article. You are not alone, but you are at risk. And fixing it is easier than you think.

I would like to share a few thoughts and suggestions in response to this article. In response to my efforts at encouraging adequate hydration – many people, especially older adults, offer a valid concern – they object to the inconvenience of needing to urinate more frequently when they try to take my advice and drink more water. I understand. It is indeed inconvenient to have to urinate when you simply cannot conveniently do so; for example, when you have to be in the car for a long time, if you have to sit through a long meeting, or if you have mobility issues that make it difficult to get up and about.

But I am encouraged that you do get it – I can see that you do understand and value the importance of adequate hydration. So what can be done? How do we fix this constant “gotta go pee pee” problem? It involves making a new habit. Make regular, periodic water intake a new habit. Instead of drinking a big glass of water when you remember to do it, take a sip or two of water every hour or so. This way, the cells of your body will gradually rehydrate and you will not have to visit the bathroom as often as you fear. I know, that big glass of water sure is quicker and easier for you! But your body prefers gradual changes, and it will let you know it. It will make it inconvenient for you if you force it to manage all that water when it is in a relatively dehydrated state.

Bear with me for a moment while I #medicalnerd out. I believe there are a few people who will find this interesting, but I promise to make it brief! Dehydrated individuals often find they need to visit the bathroom soon after drinking a large amount of fluid. It seems so strange, doesn’t it? One would think the body would soak that water right up if it is so dry, right? It does seem strange, but your body is simply trying to maintain it’s fluid balance, which…if you don’t drink enough water…is low! I often tell people that our bodies are smarter than we are, and we just need to get better at listening to them and heeding the signals. Your body is constantly working towards a state of balance and homeostasis. If you drink a lot of water all at once, your body (specifically in this case, your pituitary gland), will produce less antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone tells your kidneys how much water to conserve. It will result in faster secretion of water by the kidneys. So…when you produce less ADH…which helps you hold on to water…you pee more…it seems to go right through you!

Drinking a big glass of water is an effective means of reclaiming your natural thirst instinct. But putting a lot of water in to an already dehydrated system can result in more frequent trips to the bathroom (until your system adapts to an adequately hydrated state). And although it is rare, drinking too much water can put you at risk for electrolyte imbalance. It sure is inconvenient to have to urinate so frequently until your body gets used to the deluge of water being presented to it, isn’t it? And who wants to risk electrolyte imbalance? Be kind and gentle to your body, and take a few sips every hour, instead.

Once your body is adequately hydrated and your natural thirst instinct has returned, your body will actually remind you to drink water. It will give you a little thirst alert. Like an alert from your phone. Just think of this as your internal alert system. Picture a banner, or a badge, and add a sound if you want. But notice it, drink a couple of sips, and go back to what you were doing.

Voilà! A new habit has been formed. Good job!

For more information on this topic, remember to read this article.