Dehydration is a big problem when you have active IBD or a pouch. Some days it seems impossible to drink enough, when water is quite literally pouring out of you faster than you can put it back in.
Actually I’m thirsty now. Excuse me..
OK. First of all let’s look at what the colon actually does, after all most absorption goes on in the small bowel so what’s the problem?
Actually 80% of water is absorbed by your small intestine, that leaves a considerable 20% which would normally be absorbed by your colon, that you have to make up for. You are also missing out on mineral salts, also known as electrolytes, and vitamins that your colon would normally absorb. (Not only that, the bacteria in your colon actually makes vitamin K and biotin, a B vitamin. Posts on pro-biotics and vitamins to follow..)
Diarrhoea can cause your body to lose water and important electrolyte mineral salts, which causes dehydration. Dehydration can cause you to feel tired, listless and moody and have mood swings – I have experienced a range of symptoms when dehydrated, from feeling really low and fatigued to uncontrollable rage! I’m sure you have heard about people in hospital being aggressive when dehydrated. It is surprisingly powerful.
Drinking lots of water doesn’t always solve the problem. Water cannot replace the lost salts, you need something to replace those electrolytes. These are the methods I use to counter dehydration:
Dioralyte Rehydration Sachets in Citrus flavour.
Most people have holiday memories of retching over the blackcurrant Dioralyte, while they’ve got ‘runny tummy’, which naturally puts them off. I find Citrus flavour is the least disgusting flavour – I’m so used to it now I actually quite like it. I drink at least one sachet per day. Another plus is that you can get Dioralyte on prescription.
Coconut water contains naturally occurring electrolytes and is high in potassium, so a great hydrator. I like Vitacoco.
Elete Electrolyte Water
Elete Water is an electrolyte replacement designed for athletes. It is great because it is flavourless and you only need a few drops in any drink to get the benefits. I carry a mini bottle with me everywhere I go.
- 100% natural, zero calorie, performance optimising electrolytes
- No sugars, colourings, flavourings or preservatives
- Mix with water, juice, food