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Hydration Therapy: What It Is and Why You Might Need It

  • Category: Health & Wellness
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  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Hydration Therapy: What It Is and Why You Might Need It

Not sure what the hype is about or if hydration therapy is for you? We’ll clear up the confusion.

The human body needs water to function. When it doesn’t get enough, it sends out signals letting you know you’d better give it some fluids… and soon.

Although you might be tempted to start chugging water or a sports drink when you feel like your body is low on fluids, that’s not always the best option. It can take hours for the body to rehydrate when drinking fluids because your large intestine absorbs most of the fluid. Drinking large quantities of fluids quickly may also cause issues as bothersome as the dehydration that sent you drinking in the first place.

That’s where hydration therapy comes in – and why it may be the answer to your dehydration woes.

If you’ve never heard of hydration therapy, aren’t quite sure what it does or are confused about why and when you would use it, here are answers to your questions:

Q: What exactly is hydration therapy?

A: Hydration therapy is a simple treatment that delivers fluids directly into your bloodstream through a small IV inserted into your arm. The fluids may also include vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants and even medication in the mix. By allowing fluids to circulate quickly through your body, hydration therapy rapidly replenishes fluids in a way that drinking fluids can’t.

Q: Is hydration therapy new? Why haven’t I heard of it before?

A: The idea of getting fluids through an IV is not new at all. If you’ve ever been in the ER or stayed in the hospital, you’ve probably experienced this already. But being able to selectively schedule hydration therapy on an outpatient basis is a relatively new opportunity. When you feel the need for fast hydration, you can simply schedule an appointment and give your body the fluids it needs (assuming you qualify for treatment).

Q: Why would I need hydration therapy?

A: Hydration therapy can be used for a number of reasons. Some people seek IV hydration as a hangover cure or for migraine treatment. Others find it useful for athletic recovery, stress relief or as a way to rehydrate after a long flight, an illness or a hot day in the sun. If your body is crying out for fluids and that lack of fluids is leaving you not feeling your best, hydration therapy can help.

Q: Will I be able to tell if I’m dehydrated?

A: Many signs of dehydration are pretty obvious. Increased thirst is a sign. In fact, if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Dry mouth, headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and dark urine are other signals that your body is crying out for fluids.

Q: But wait… How did I get dehydrated in the first place?

A: You can get dehydrated when you lose more fluids than you take in, like when you sweat during exercise or spend time outside in hot weather. Drinking too much alcohol causes dehydration and so can long airplane flights. You can also become dehydrated when you’ve been sick with fever, vomiting or diarrhea, or even if you just forget to sip water throughout the day.

Q: Remind me again why I can’t just start chugging water if I need fluids?

A: Whenever you drink fluids, your large intestine gets first dibs. So it will soak up most of what you send its way before the rest of your body can benefit. If you down massive amounts of water too quickly, it can upset your digestive system and may even cause your sodium levels to drop to dangerous levels. If you’re dehydrated, IV fluids can get the job done more quickly and efficiently than drinking water.

Q: What will the experience be like?

A: Hydration therapy only takes about 30 to 45 minutes. You’ll get to enjoy a private room with many of the comforts of home. The only discomfort you may feel is a slight pinch when the IV needle is inserted. Other than that, you can just sit back and relax. By the time your treatment is done, you’ll likely already start feeling better and you’ll reap the full benefits about 2 to 4 hours after treatment is completed.

Q: Hey, what’s that in my IV bag?

A: The cocktail you receive during hydration therapy will depend on why you’re getting the treatment. You’ll get a specially chosen mix of fluids with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and/or medication. For example, hydration therapy for athletic recovery may contain fluids, magnesium, vitamin B6, multivitamins and pain relief.

Q: What should I do if I want to get hydration therapy?

A: Hydration therapy is currently approved for adults aged 18 to 65. After you schedule an appointment and before therapy begins, your vital signs, weight, heart and lungs will be checked and you will be asked about any allergies. If you are pregnant or have chronic health conditions, you’ll have to get permission from your doctor first.