A human body becomes dehydrated when it loses more fluids than it consumes. Nausea can be a symptom of dehydration, as well as a cause of the condition. Human bodies need water in order to function properly, so dehydration can be a serious problem if it is not addressed quickly.
At birth, babies are about 78% water, the highest percentage during a person’s lifetime. Adult male bodies consist of about 60% water, while adult women are about 55% water. People lose fluids in sweat, bowel movements, and urine. In addition, when people breathe out, they lose moisture in the form of humidified air.
They symptoms of dehydration include nausea, thirst, dry mouth, headaches, and dizziness. If a person is experiencing symptoms of more severe dehydration, such as lethargy, shock, or lack of sweat, he or she should be treated immediately. Severe dehydration, left untreated, can become life threatening.
The reason behind the causal relationship between nausea and dehydration is that people who are nauseated are often simply not interested in drinking fluids. People who have a fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea can also become dehydrated. Exercising without drinking water regularly can lead to excessive sweating, which can, in turn, lead to dehydration. Burns and uncontrolled diabetes are other causes, and children and the elderly are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated than other age groups.
Nausea and dehydration typically can be fixed easily by drinking water. It is better to drink small amounts of water frequently than to try to drink a lot of fluids at once, since this can induce vomiting, a situation to be avoided when a person is dehydrated. Drinks that include electrolytes, chemicals that help the body function properly, are also an effective method of treating mild dehydration. Individuals should avoid using milk, drinks with a lot of sugar, carbonated drinks, coffee, or fruit juices when treating dehydration, because these drinks can induce diarrhea or vomiting.
Severe dehydration may have to be treated in a hospital. A person who is severely dehydrated will be given fluids that include electrolytes and nutrients intravenously under medical supervision. This is a faster method of treatment and may also be necessary when a person is vomiting and cannot keep fluids down.
Dehydration can usually be prevented. People who are exercising should hydrate beforehand, drink cool water during the exercise period, and continue to drink fluids after the session is over. Adults and children who are sick should be given fluids as soon as possible to prevent dehydration from occurring as the illness progresses.