Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up


By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD

Drinking Water

Do you drink enough water? Forget the whole 8 glasses a day thing for a minute and imagine you were a flower. Yes I’m being serious. Whatever you pictured, I doubt your flower is dried out, wilted, or droopy (if it was we may need to talk about other issues). But if you’re chronically dehydrated, that’s essentially what is happening in your body.

You probably know you can’t live more than a few days without water, while you can go much longer without food. That’s because water makes up 60-70% of your body. But even slight dehydration can take a toll beyond giving you dark and smelly pee. Inadequate hydration is at the root of so many health (and skin!) issues – even ones that seem totally insignificant.

Ever get random headaches, muscle cramps, or days where you feel cloudy headed/less sharp? Or maybe you deal with constipation even though you’ve increased your fiber intake, have super dry skin or chapped lips even when it’s not winter, or always feel hungry or lethargic. Occasional light-headedness with standing can be (but not always) dehydration related.

Water is vital to every cell in your body. It makes up 80% of your blood and sweeps out toxins in urine. Even a slight 2% drop in hydration thickens your blood and makes your heart work harder to pump it. Short term this can lead to that cloudy-headedness or headaches. Long term, it can cause chronic constipation (water acts as lubrication to moving food/fiber through your system) – and can even effect your metabolism. Hydration also has a direct effect on your skin’s moisture – which means the best anti-aging system is free in your kitchen, not on the shelves at the store.

The Institute of Medicine released revised standards for hydration a few years ago. After factoring in water intake from fruit and vegetables, they recommend men drink ~13 glasses/day (100 oz) and women ~9 glasses (72 oz).  Other things to consider: exercise and your weight/height.

That sounds like a lot – but start small and begin by having a goal. At Foodtrainers we tell clients to drink “a liter by lunch” (~32 oz). Many find that thirst does often disguise itself as hunger. If you need flavor, drink (unsweetened) tea. Try herbal infusions like mint or ginger. Seltzer counts too.  It’s time to start including hydration as one of the keys to your best health. No more wilted flowers around here!

Photo: Stockbyte

The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand


Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

  • WebMD Daily

    WebMD Daily

    Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

  • Men's Health

    Men's Health

    Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

  • Women's Health

    Women's Health

    Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices