Staying hydrated with Multiple Sclerosis can feel impossible some days. Drink too little, and we risk fatigue and constipation. Drink too much, and we’re sprinting to the bathroom – sometimes in a race against time. Does that sound familiar?
As a Nutritionist Specializing in Multiple Sclerosis, I talk with so many women living with MS who just drink less to avoid the bathroom. But here’s the truth: proper hydration is a cornerstone of good health.
The Importance of Multiple Sclerosis Hydration
Think of water as your body’s personal delivery service. It carries essential nutrients from the food we consume to our cells, keeping us nourished and energized.
Water also plays a crucial role in waste elimination – yes, I’m talking about poop.
Here’s a startling fact: when you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to experience constipation. This is because water helps to move waste out of the body. If you’re not drinking enough, the waste your body is trying to eliminate can end up being reabsorbed. Unsettling, right?
But that’s not all. Dehydration can also contribute significantly to fatigue – arguably the most challenging symptom of Multiple Sclerosis. Fatigue may sometimes feel like an uncontrollable force, but there are strategies to help manage it, and topping that list is staying properly hydrated. Multiple Sclerosis hydration is essential.
And for those of us (like me) who also deal with migraines, let’s not forget that ample hydration can help reduce the frequency of those dreaded headaches.
So, how do we know if we’re drinking enough water? There’s a common belief that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. While that’s not bad advice, it’s a bit oversimplified in my opinion.
In reality, our hydration needs can vary based on factors such as body weight, activity level, and even the weather. A more personalized guideline to consider is drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d aim for about 75 ounces of water per day.
Remember, though, that’s just a guideline. Your body will communicate its needs to you. Feeling thirsty, noticing a darker urine color, or experiencing fatigue and constipation are all signs that your body may be craving more fluids.
Strategies to Stay Hydrated with MS
So how can we stay hydrated without spending all day dashing to the bathroom? Here are some tips to balance hydration and urinary health.
- Sip, Don’t Guzzle: Chugging down large volumes of fluid can quickly overwhelm your bladder, leading to that all-too-familiar urgent need to pee. Instead, consider sipping smaller amounts of fluid throughout the day. Carrying a water bottle with you can make this habit easier to adopt. (I carry mine EVERYWHERE!)
- Chew Your Food Well: It might sound odd, but thoroughly chewing your food can actually contribute to hydration. When you chew properly, your body produces saliva which contains enzymes that help to break down food, making it easier to digest. This process not only improves nutrient absorption but also ensures that your body uses the water in your food more efficiently. Think of it as a two-for-one deal: improved digestion and better hydration!
- Be Mindful of Bladder Irritants: Certain beverages, like coffee, alcohol, and acidic drinks, can stir up your bladder and ramp up urinary urgency. How about replacing these drinks with herbal teas or infused water? You still get the flavor, minus the irritation.
- Eat Your Water: Foods high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables, can contribute to your fluid intake and provide a more gradual hydration process that’s easier on your bladder.
- Hydrate Before Exercise: If you’re going to be outdoors or active, make sure to hydrate beforehand. You’ll need extra fluid to make up for what you lose through sweat.
- Time Your Intake: Avoid drinking large amounts of fluids in the two hours before bedtime to cut down on those annoying nighttime bathroom trips.
- Monitor Your Urine: The color of your urine is like a daily status report on your hydration level. Aim for a pale, straw-like color, which typically indicates healthy hydration.
Remember, these are suggestions, not commandments. Start by introducing just one or two of these strategies and see how your body responds. This is all about finding what works best for YOU. We’re in this together, so let’s keep the conversation going!
What’s your first step going to be? Comment below! And share your experiences with Multiple Sclerosis hydration.
Also, if you liked this post, you can also check out the video I created on Bladder-friendly Hydration Tips for MS.