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pjeby comments on Nature publishes an article about alternative therapy - Less Wrong

1 Post author: BiasedBayes 19 October 2015 05:07PM

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Comment author: pjeby 28 October 2015 09:14:07PM 0 points [-]

Have you tried just drinking more on a regular basis?

Yes, but since the presence of such pains is the main thing that tells me I've not had enough, it doesn't help too much. An amount that seems sufficient can be easily overwhelmed by say, some hard work and sweating, and/or the use of the car air conditioner to recover from said hard work. Giving a talk or just having a talk with someone can do it, too. So unless I over-drink some of the time, there will always be situations where I end up under-drinking, in the absence of some finer-gauge way to tell my hydration state. I do at least know now to start chugging after I give a workshop, for example. Before I figured out the hydration link, I used to spend many painful hours recovering after each talk I gave.

Comment author: Lumifer 29 October 2015 02:58:23PM 2 points [-]

Unless you have kidney problems, the downsides of overdrinking seem to be very minor. The consequences of missing the right amount to drink seem to be strongly asymmetrical, given that don't you want to err on the side of more water?

Comment author: pjeby 30 October 2015 03:45:43PM 0 points [-]

don't you want to err on the side of more water?

Of course I do. In fact, most of my water consumption is forced, in the sense that I'm drinking without any sensation of thirst. That's the problem: I have little sensation of thirst, unless I'm already drinking. While I'm drinking water I can notice I'm thirsty, or at any rate, that drinking the water is pleasurable. But the rest of the time, I drink by forcing myself to notice that there's water in the 32-ounce glass on my desk and that I should drink it, or that the glass is empty and I should refill it.

But this doesn't help as much as you'd think, because my body doesn't seem to store the water for later demand, and just prompts me to get rid of it instead... then quickly becomes dehydrated again... all with no sensation of thirst except in certain extreme cases. But I can also get too dehydrated to function, without any sensation of thirst.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 October 2015 05:07:59PM *  1 point [-]

most of my water consumption is forced, in the sense that I'm drinking without any sensation of thirst. That's the problem: I have little sensation of thirst

I am keeping in mind the Typical Body Fallacy, but this seems entirely normal to me, at least for a city person with a desk job. I don't have and don't expect to have a sensation of thirst during a typical day. I wouldn't say that I'm forcing myself to drink, I just sip and drink intermittently throughout the day basically because I recognize that otherwise I will get dehydrated (thought still no actual thirst) by the end of the day.

because my body doesn't seem to store the water for later demand

Given how you were talking about pains, it seems to be a noticeable issue for you -- so maybe set up some recurring timers to, I don't know, sip 50ml every half an hour or something?

Comment author: pjeby 30 October 2015 05:41:30PM *  0 points [-]

Given how you were talking about pains, it seems to be a noticeable issue for you

Yes -- it happens a few times a week, depending on circumstances.

Your advice would totally make sense if the baseline issue were that I'm not consuming enough water. But on a baseline day I consume between 1 and 1.5 gallons of water alone, not counting any water in the food I eat, or any other beverages such as almond milk. (I don't consume sodas, fruit juice, coffee, tea, alcohol, or really anything else.)

The problem is that sometimes, that 1-1.5 gallons isn't enough, and there are occasionally days where it's been not enough for a few days in a row, such that I end up running "a few quarts low". (I actually use my scale as another clue: if I've lost a pound or two from one day to the next, and my fat % is higher, then I know I'm dehydrating. But an hour or so difference in time spent sleeping can do the same thing to my weight, so it's not a very precise measurement.)

I don't know, sip 50ml every half an hour or something?

What makes you think I'm not doing that now? As pointed out elsewhere in this thread, my rate of water need is not constant. If I have a couple of days in a row where I underestimate how much I need to raise my intake to compensate for losses like having more conversations or physical exertion than usual (or the air conditioner running more to maintain the temperature inside!), then I will fall behind and experience dehydration symptoms. But if I try to consume more water as a matter of course, then that also disrupts my digestion, makes me feel cold, keeps me running to the bathroom, and so forth.

So, if you don't have some method for actually changing my body's regulation of water, I'm not interested. AFAICT I'm already doing everything that is doable with respect to changing my behavior around water consumption, given the lack of any reliable means for determining my precise water need, in a situation where both under- and over-consumption create health problems.

I'm going to tap out of this discussion now, as my original post was not a request for advice; it was an expression of curiosity about someone saying they experienced headache relief from both placebos and painkillers, making me wonder if it was water-related (since I have some experience of that).

Comment author: JEB_4_PREZ_2016 30 October 2015 11:50:04PM *  2 points [-]

But on a baseline day I consume between 1 and 1.5 gallons of water alone, not counting any water in the food I eat, or any other beverages such as almond milk.

That's an absurd amount of water (not from food) to be consuming every day.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 October 2015 07:14:07PM *  1 point [-]

Sorry. LW is populated by people with... different capabilities to manage their problems and it wasn't obvious to which category you belonged.

Comment author: Tem42 29 October 2015 10:59:42PM 0 points [-]

You may have a bad mental model of hydration -- you should probably not visualize it as being "I need 100 ml of water an hour to be perfectly hydrated". Your body can easily handle an extra cup of water without trouble, and has multiple buffer systems. If you are thirsty enough to gain any pleasure from drinking, drink. (Warning, this advice does not apply to alcohol and soda).

It is possibly relevant that blood pressure is related to hydration -- when your blood pressure goes up, your body reduces blood volume by removing some water from your bloodstream. If you find talks stressful and this raises your blood pressure, you may become slightly more dehydrated, and following this, when your blood pressure decreases, you will be "underblooded" -- which is to say, your body will have to get some water from somewhere to increase blood volume, or you will have less than ideal blood pressure. (This is a simplification). If this is a significant cause of your headaches, you might notice a correlation between having to pee (water is removed from the bloodstream into the bladder) and having a headache. However, it would be hard to test this correlation in an unbiased fashion.

Comment author: pjeby 30 October 2015 04:04:35PM 1 point [-]

Your body can easily handle an extra cup of water without trouble ... If you are thirsty enough to gain any pleasure from drinking, drink.

Beware the Typical Bladder Fallacy. ;-) (Or just the typical body fallacy.)

You seem to be assuming that I don't already force myself to drink water to this extent. I do. The problem is that there is no sensation that tells me I am "thirsty enough", most of the time. Or more precisely, there is very little correlation between my sensation of thirst and my level of dehydration. I can be thirsty and not dehydrated, but I can also be dehydrated and not thirsty, and slip from one state to the other without noticing. This means I have to use a drinking habit as a workaround, and also check for symptoms like nasal congestion.

If you find talks stressful and this raises your blood pressure

It doesn't matter what the subject matter is, or whom I'm speaking with; what matters is the total time I spend with my mouth open; I salivate profusely and presumably lose quite a bit to evaporation. Likewise, I sweat profusely from almost any amount of physical exertion. In general. In general, my body always acts as if it thinks it has plenty of water and should get rid of it ASAP, at least with respect to those systems that acquire or eliminate water.

Water conservation systems, on the other hand (like my nasal mucus and digestive tract) do seem to notice that I am dehydrating and act to conserve water!

So in general, I notice that my body is confused. ;-) Unfortunately, I'm not yet aware of any means by which I may resolve its confusions about water.