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You Can Decrease Your MS Symptoms: Just Add Water

You Can Decrease Your MS Symptoms: Just Add Water

The benefits of drinking water (H2o) are many — and not only in the summer months. If you have multiple sclerosis (MS) drinking an adequate amount of water is essential.

I know what you are thinking: “More water intake, equals more trips to the bathroom.” That is what used to get in the way of my water intake, too.

The idea is true. In the beginning, with all the added water, my bathroom breaks increased. But over time my body has adjusted to the extra liquid. And, after adding a few glasses each week, my body craves water and the trips to the restroom have decreased.

In the article “Drink More for MS,” Jane (a member of the Information Team at the U.K.’s MS Trust) clarifies the benefits of increased water intake.

Jane states that MS can cause bladder issues, which can often lead to people drinking less water to avoid inconvenient and embarrassing consequences, such as frequent bathroom breaks, incontinence, and waking up in the night.

Join our MS News Today forums to discuss drinking water and living with MS.

However, she contends that drinking less water is counterproductive, and can cause even more serious problems such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) because of urine becoming extra concentrated.

Another downside of not drinking enough water is dehydration. An article on the Mayo Clinic website states that “dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.”

The article also states that dehydration can be more prevalent in people with chronic diseases, as they may not feel well enough to eat or drink properly. An added suggestion is drinking additional water during hot weather to help lower your temperature. It is important to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Avoiding excess caffeine is also recommended.

Fatigue is a huge challenge for those of us with MS. The MS Society of Canada lists fatigue as a secondary symptom of dehydration in their article “MS Fatigue.” I notice that I’m not as fatigued when I drink the recommended amount of water.

My doctor recommends that I drink six to eight glasses of water per day. I slowly increased my intake every week, and now it doesn’t seem like that much at all.

I know that some people find the taste of water unappealing. My husband was one of those people; he was an avid soda pop drinker. He said that water would rust his pipes.

To improve the taste of water, try infusing it with lemons, strawberries, cucumbers, or limes. The internet shouts about the rewards of starting your day with warm lemon water. Be creative and reap the benefits.

Increasing our water intake not only helps to keep us healthy, but it may also bring the bonus of decreasing the severity of our MS symptoms.

Please join us at the MS News Today forums to take part in the discussion.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today 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 Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Debi is a retired admissions and marketing director residing in Oregon. She is a mother of three grown children and has three grandchildren. She was diagnosed with PPMS in 2010. With her column, “Faith of the Mustard Seed,” she hopes to help and inspire others who are also dealing with MS.
Debi is a retired admissions and marketing director residing in Oregon. She is a mother of three grown children and has three grandchildren. She was diagnosed with PPMS in 2010. With her column, “Faith of the Mustard Seed,” she hopes to help and inspire others who are also dealing with MS.
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  1. Sabra says:

    I take shaved ice some strawberries with a little sugar that has set in fridge over night. Drain the juice from the berries over ice.

  2. Roman Ksh says:

    100% true for me!!!! It is my elixir since my recent diagnosis. Allows me to be functional ( run/do substantial workouts at the gym, etc). I discovered myself, told many docs, no one wanted to listen. I will recommend trying water to everyone, as well as agreeing with every point mentioned in this article. You can also try mint instead of beverages which contain caffeine. P.S I drink around 4-5 liters per day.

  3. D J Shadbolt says:

    Any doctor that recommends that amount of water a day is not really up to speed.

    This myth is debunked fully here:

    It doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t stay hydrated. It is more about where the necessary fluid comes from.

    Like any broad-brush claim that purports to be an easy solution, there is always more detail and nuance behind it.

    At the other end of the spectrum, it is quite possible to cause oneself to suffer from hyponatremia!

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Thanks for your comments DJ!
      I read the link you posted, it seemed the writer of The NY Times article didn’t have an objection to drinking water. In fact, they said it was a lot better than drinking soda pop. Their objection appeared to be being told the amount of water that they should consume.

      Six to eight glasses of water per day is not an unrealistic amount. The benefits of drinking water are many and I can attest to the fact, that when I drink my Dr’s recommended amount my MS symptoms do not appear as severe.

      As for developing the rare condition of hyponatremia, that can occur when you drink gallons and gallons of water in a short time span.

      Thanks for your input, it is important to discuss and debate issues that are important in our lives. You would bring a unique perspective to the MS forums! I hope you can join us there.
      Take care, Debi

    • Eugene says:

      Sufficient water intake for people is based on your weight. Formula is drinking half your weight in ounces per day. Which makes sense when you think of a 200 lbs. individual needing more daily water intake than a person weighing 100 lbs.

  4. Jimmi Poulsen says:

    I drink atleast 1,5 liters of water pr. day. That is well in line with the recommendations of the Danish health authorities on an average day. On hot days you should of course drink more… At the Sclerosis rehabcenter, where i was hospitalized in may, they told us that the latest research indicated that drinking more than 1.5 liters also might be soft drinks, beer or wines, due to the sugar / salin balance. (The kind of sience i love).
    Anyway, drinking too little makes me weak and fatigued. And I tend to get kidney stones.
    So drinking enough water is very important!

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Thanks Jimmi for your comments!
      Wow, I have never heard of beer, wine and pop being included in the daily recommendation of water! lol
      Sounds like you know what works for you!
      Take care, Debi

  5. Renee Drew says:

    I like drinking water, so probably drink about 1.75 quarts of it a day, after I’ve begun my day with about a quart of coffee. Frequently I enjoy herbal iced tea, in particular Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice. It has a cinnamon flavor, that I find naturally sweet, so don’t add any sweetener.

  6. itasara says:

    I have never been much of a water drinker. I am trying to do so but most of the time I just forget. I don’t get thirsty and when I do I don’t find that water does much to quench my thirst. I do like lemons and fruit in water which I have had at restaurants, but ai was recently dx’d with silent acid reflux and told to “avoid” those types of acidy fruits and foods. The ENT doctor did tell me to drink more water. I drink decaf tea more now and I reluctantly have cut down on coffee. Believe it or not, it is somewhat of a chore for me to drink water.

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Hi itasara,
      Drinking water it’s hard for a lot of people, I know I had to work at drinking more.
      I guess you just have to find what works for you, sounds like you were doing that until the acid reflex struck.
      Thanks for your comments,
      Take care, Debi

  7. Pam Berglund says:

    One way to train yourself to drink more water is to pick something that you do or see frequently during the day.(An example is to take a sip of water every time you see a commercial or at the beginning of each hour). Pretty soon you will retrain yourself to drink more water. This also works good to retrain yourself to relax your shoulders down, which helps to decrease shld pain. You can count soup, jello, and other items that turn liquid as fluids. Caffeinated beverages irritate the bladder causing increased urinary incontinence. Increased water intake dilutes the caffeine & decreases the urinary incontinence. Good luck. I know I feel more alert/less fatigued if I keep

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