I drink a lot of water. If you’ve been following my interstitial cystitis journey, you’ll know I’m actually drinking too much for my weight and height! But that’s not the case for most people. Most of us struggle with staying hydrated, yet it’s integral to managing endometriosis.
Many of us with endo suffer from symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
But these are also symptoms of not drinking enough water.
What if we’re missing something? What if we aren’t taking a close look at some of the key foundations of health and nutrition that might be contributing to the symptoms of our disease? What if those symptoms weren’t solely caused by endometriosis, but were partly because of hydration issues? Could we improve our endometriosis symptoms by improving the foundations of our health?
I believe we could.
Water is a life source for all of us, and it’s particularly beneficial for those of us with endometriosis.
Healthy bowel movements are essential for managing endometriosis, and being properly hydrated supports the formation of healthy, easily passed stools. Our detoxification functions allow us to eliminate toxins and old hormones such as estrogen through our daily bowel movements and urine. We know that in many cases, endometriosis growth is encouraged by estrogen. A recent study showed that endometrial cells have varying hormone receptors, meaning some endometriosis actually responds to progesterone rather than estrogen. But there is evidence demonstrating that endometriosis is estrogen dependent for many of us.
We want to ensure that our hormones are correctly balanced. A key part of this is having a healthy detoxification system, which supports the excretion of estrogen through the colon.
Without healthy gut functions, excess estrogen builds up and can cause endometriosis to worsen. Poor gut health can also result in IBS-like issues such as constipation, bloating, and gas, which many people with endometriosis also experience.
So how much water should you be drinking?
There are a few calculations, but the easiest one is to take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. Drink that number in ounces of water per day. A person weighing 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of water a day.
If you exercise frequently, you’ll need more water. This calculator takes that into account.
You can also tell whether you’re drinking enough water by the color of your urine. Healthy urine should be very pale yellow and clear. You can compare your urine against this NHS chart.
You can also tell whether you’re properly hydrated by looking at your stools. The Bristol stool chart shows different types of stools to help doctors and patients understand gut health and bowel movements. Ideally, a healthy stool is type 4. Anything above that indicates constipation, which may be due to dehydration resulting in hard stools that are difficult to pass. In my training to be an Integrative Women’s Health Coach, Jessica Drummond advises that our clients should be having two to three Bristol type 4 bowel movements a day.
Constipation and hard stools can also be linked to low fiber intake, gut problems like IBS, and obstruction to the bowel due to endometriosis or pelvic floor dysfunction. If you are getting enough fiber and water and are still constipated, seek support from a doctor.
Many of us struggle to drink enough water. If you know you need to up your intake, think about ways to make it a habit. Try the following ideas:
- Set alarms: Set several alarms to remind yourself to drink water.
- Add to your routine: Tie drinking water to other habits. Drink a glass of water before you get in the shower. Drink a glass of water when you get to the office. Make it part of your everyday routine.
- Carry a water bottle: Get a big water bottle and carry it everywhere.
- Add flavor: Start drinking more herbal teas. Or add herbs and berries to water to encourage you to drink it.
Good luck! Be kind to yourself. This isn’t about perfection, it’s about persistence.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.