Tips to Avoid Dehydration With IBD

If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you may have to do more to stay hydrated. You should drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of liquids every day. But you need more if you get overheated and sweat a lot.

When to Drink

Take sips of water throughout the day. If you wait until you’re thirsty, it’s too late.

Carry a water bottle when you go for a walk. If it's hot and sunny outside, make sure to drink a little more.

If you take on a long or intense workout, hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Sports drinks can replace the electrolytes you lose when you sweat.

Drink lots of water when you travel, especially by air. Airports and airplanes are full of dry air, so dehydration can happen easily. You can carry a water bottle into the airport, then fill it up after you go through security.

Have water at restaurants and with your meals at home. Drink a glassful when you wake up and when you go to bed.

Other Options

The fluids you take in can come from more than plain water. Cut lemons or limes to add flavor to your water. Clear broths and ice pops work, too.

Sports drinks have the added bonuses of sodium and potassium. If you're sweating, either from the weather or from a workout, you need both of these electrolytes to help you stay hydrated.

If you need hydration quickly, coconut water is a great choice. Along with sodium and potassium, it has minerals and electrolytes, too.

Most people get about 20% of their water from food. A lot of that can come from fruits and vegetables. Foods that can help hydrate you include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

What Not to Drink

Limit or cut out alcohol and drinks with caffeine and sugar. Your body loses water faster when you have them. Beverages to stay away from include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Fruit drinks like punches
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweet tea
  • Lemonade
  • Flavored milk
  • Smoothies
  • Sodas

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More Hydration Tips

There are other things you can do to prevent dehydration. For example:

Take a probiotic. It'll help your body absorb the water you take in.

Drink more water when it’s cold outside. The air is drier and your body loses water faster when temperatures drop. If you see your breath, that’s moisture leaving your body.

Stay inside when it’s really hot outside. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have to go outside in the middle of the day, protect yourself.

To keep from overheating:

  • Wear a hat to keep your head cool.
  • Wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothes.
  • Mist yourself to cool down when you need it.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on February 15, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:
Premier Medical Group: “Coping with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Yes’s and No’s of Gut Healthy Living.”
Frederick Health: “10 Tips for Staying Hydrated During the Summer Heat.”
Scripps Health: “6 Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Dehydration,” “Dehydrated? These 7 Foods Will Satisfy Your Thirst and Hunger.” 
Family Doctor: “Hydration: Why It’s So Important.”
Canadian Society of Intestinal Research: “Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Tips From Our Support Groups.”
Mayo Clinic: Dehydration.”
Ithaca Journal: “Dehydration is a risk even during the winter.”
American Cancer Society: “How Do I Protect Myself from Ultraviolet (UV) Rays?”

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