What effect does drinking too much water have on your body?

Water, water everywhere, and maybe a drop too much to drink.

26th June 2016
What effect does drinking too much water have on your body? © Daniel Bright/BBC Focus

Asked by: Medium Atomic Weight via Twitter

If you drink more water than your kidneys can remove (approximately one litre an hour), the concentration of sodium and other electrolytes in your blood begins to drop. Beyond a certain point, your cells will uncontrollably absorb water by osmosis and swell up. In the brain this increases the pressure against your skull, which leads to headache, confusion, vomiting and (ironically) thirst. If it isn’t treated promptly, this progresses to seizures, brain damage and death. 

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