“Dehydration equals stress...” Dr. F. Batmanghelidj
In this post I am going to discuss my personal experience with hydration and a book. First I want to share how water helped my UTIs. Then I want to tell you about how Dr. Batmanghelidj used water to help his patients, and the parts of his book Your Body's Many Cries for Water, You’re Not Sick; You’re Thirsty Don’t Treat Thirst with Medication which discuss water’s effect on specific aliments, water filtration systems, water resources, activity and water, the minerals in pure water, diuretics and dehydration, asthma, emotional/mental health, and diagnosing first with water.
Do I really have a smaller formed urethra? Huh?
When I was 14 a doctor told me I had a smaller formed urethra. I was experiencing all of the symptoms of UTIs. The medications, cranberry juice, and suggestions from doctors/health care professionals didn't work. The doctors then decided to stretch my urethra. This was painful, invasive, and not nice to say the least! It turned me off to doctors and the medical world for a long time because I felt betrayed and hurt. I know now they were doing their best and that there are a lot of great doctors out there. They no longer perform the procedure of stretching a urethra.
I was sitting on a couch at my dad’s house one morning. The burning was so painful I could not move without crying. I was bent over and felt paralyzed. I don’t know exactly what happened and yet a moment later I was drinking two full glasses of water slowly. At first I was hopeless and yet I did it anyway. I felt better in about 20-25 minutes when I went to the bathroom and I noticed that the burning had decreased 75% I would say. It was truly magical. Honestly I thought a mystic witch had come to save me with an enchanted formula. It was water.
One Glass of Water. Then another glass of water.
I decided from this point on I would go nowhere without my water bottle. I remember telling my friend on the bus and she said hey that’s not a bad habit to get into, it will really help your skin too. Was she ever right. I put that habit in place young enough that now when sitting by a computer working ~ I drink. Exercising ~ I drink (just enough not too much J). It served especially when I moved to Colorado for college.
In CO I spoke with several healers: midwives, Buddhists, counselors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and herbalists. They explained that avoiding sugar, chocolate, dairy, wheat, and other grains would be helpful. Bacteria collect around the urethra which can make the burning and pain worse. Processed foods and foods with sugar aggravate the symptoms. I didn’t know. I wasn’t ready for all that at 19. Give up all the fun and free time chillin’ foods? No way. I would be good at it and then would have a case of the fuck-its as a good friend of mine says. I am 31 now and starting to really commit. No more. Sugar is not worth pain anywhere near my reproductive system! So yeah, change with the diet is always nice and fast with no emotional difficulty right? ;-)
Water I love you. I owe you much of my quality of life. Healers thanks for the love. And Buddhism, thank you for reminding me that I am capable of staying with myself and being kind.
Water’s effect on specific aliments
Hydration is fundamental to overall well-being. In Your Body's Many Cries for Water, You’re Not Sick; You’re Thirsty Don’t Treat Thirst with Medication Dr. Batmanghelidj discusses how sipping pure water throughout the day can improve and prevent many health problems. Water can ameliorate quality of life. Water is especially helpful for those who are currently suffering from many ailments such as asthma, allergies, or autoimmune diseases. It also cushions the joints, moistens oxygen for easier breathing, and helps to flush toxins and waste.
In American society we often use pharmaceutical drugs as the go-to solution for many diseases, deficiencies, and discomforts. Dr. Batmanghelidj challenges this immediate approach to medicate. As a doctor himself he offers a cheap and simple alternative: drink more water. He doesn’t simply order the reader to do this as he is an expert on the subject. He does an excellent job of explaining how water can improve life and help folks with various health concerns by sharing the success stories written by his patients. These stories (most of them letters to him organized throughout the book depending on the topic at hand) explain how drinking pure water on a regular basis helped them feel better and improved their symptoms. One child's asthma went away almost entirely through drinking his daily requirement of water.
Water Quality ~ water filtration systems ~ water resources
Dr. Batmanghelidj explains it is important to know about the quality of the water we are drinking. What’s in it? What may be toxic? We are best served by drinking water that is from as pure and natural a source as possible. If a natural good water source is not available from the tap, there are many purification systems available. Also, each town and city has information about their water and what may be in it such as harsh chemicals from industrial plants, chlorine and fluoride, pesticides, bacteria, parasites, pharmaceutical drugs (from people who are taking them and detoxing them), and many more foreign substances depending on the water treatment and what is present in the area. There are filtration solutions that are expensive and ones that are less pricey that can be attached to a whole house supply such as osmosis which can catch many harmful substances and yet wastes a good amount of water. There are also cheaper solutions such as a MAVEA (which are BPA free) or Brita filter and yet these can breed bacteria through the charcoal filter and do not catch as much of the toxins as more advanced systems. Good solutions can be found if we put in the time to research. I use a shower water filter and a MAVEA for now as I cannot afford a whole house purification system! If you are a bit $$$ flusher check out reversed osmosis and or ceramic and charcoal blend purification systems.
activity, water, AND electrolytes
Dr. Batmanghelidj also points out how the benefits of water are best utilized by the body when we are active in addition to drinking the right amount of water. For each of us this is different. Even as little as a half an hour walk a day coupled with drinking more water tremendously helped all of his patients. The best result he found was in walking about an hour in the morning and in the evening.
Water is more than simply hydrogen and oxygen. It has other electrolytes and minerals (when it is in its unadulterated form such as from an unpolluted mountain spring). This kind of pure water is harder and harder to come by these days and yet a pinch of good quality sea salt in a cup of water in the morning can help with electrolyte balance (as well as with adrenal fatigue). Too much water can drive down our mineral balance and so it is important to discover out how much is right for each individual. Too much water can also overburden the kidneys which are late to complain so we want to take preventative measures when possible.
diseases/ILLNESSES Water helps
Dr. Batmanghelidj sees many symptoms of pain as a sign of thirst. He mostly goes over the diseases, pain, and imbalances he worked with through his patients. He addresses: dyspeptic and colitis pain, false appendicitis, hernias, rheumatoid arthritis, back, neck, and Angolan pain, headaches, emotional/mental/lifestyle imbalances such as stress and depression, high blood pressure and cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, asthma, allergies, and more. Anyone struggling with any one or more of these would be hard pressed to not find some great advice in this book. He talks about the importance of water for joint health. Cartilage needs the right amount of lubrication from water to protect the joints. Water moistens oxygen for easier breathing and thus is extremely help for folks who struggle with asthma. If we are overweight and dehydrated we cannot properly flush toxins and excrete waste. We need water in order to create the proper hydrochloric acid to absorb and assimilate nutrients, especially in the stomach. Water’s list of health benefits goes on and on. If you have any of these health concerns this book is medicine.
Dr. Batmanghelidj beckons the reader to look at the over-consumption of diuretic drinks in our North American culture (which is rapidly becoming normalized globally). Many of us over do it with caffeine, alcohol, sodas, juices, energy drinks, and even tea. These drinks all dehydrate the body. For every amount of these we drink our body needs 1.5 that amount of water to bring it back to where we need to be in order to function to our best ability. We need adequate water for most of the metabolic and biochemical processes of our body to function correctly.
I learned more about asthma and that is very helpful as my loved ones struggle with this. Many adults and children suffer from Asthma. I am with Dr. Batmanghelidj on this: it is unnecessary distress. Asthma and allergies are indicators that the body has resorted to an increase in production of the neurotransmitter histamine, the sensor regulator of water metabolism and its distribution in the body. I had not realized how asthma functioned or its relationship to water. Histamine makes it harder for water to evaporate as it needs to from the lungs because of bronchial constriction. It also helps us to fight bacteria and viruses. Dr. Batmanghelidj found in scientific research and in practice that he could improve the comfort of breathing for asthmatics in three to four weeks through gradually supporting them to drink their ideal amount of water.
Emotional/mental health concerns like stress, anxiety, irritability, depression, and hypertension can be greatly improved through upping water intake. These health concerns are usually met with medication as the solution. Dr. Batmanghelidj explains how water can help with brain health physiologically and how this supports emotional well-being. Our brain tissue is affected by dehydration. We have energy-generating pumps which help the brain use the electrical energy necessary for function and water drives this process. Dehydration slows this generation down and much of the time this leaves many of us feeling down and negative. This dysfunction is often diagnosed as depression. This can also be connected with chronic fatigue syndrome and stress.
Dehydration equals stress... Dr. Batmanghelidj teaches us. Ultimately stress and dehydration become a vicious cycle. Many hormone processes are suppressed by dehydration and we need our hormones to function properly for brain chemistry to be balanced. Dr. Batmanghelidj does an exquisite job of breaking down the importance of the major hormones: endorphins, cortisone, release factor, prolactin, vasopressin, and renin-angiotensin. Serotonin (the happy brain chemical) is also highly dependent on proper intake of water to be successfully produced in ample amounts. Overtime many mental health concerns can be relieved through increasing water intake. I discussed this idea with one of my loved ones and they explained they did feel mentally more positive after increasing their water in take over a few days! Everything truly is interconnected.
diagnose with water first
I thought it was fascinating how Dr. Batmanghelidj taught about how right abdominal pain is not necessarily a sign that the appendix needs to be removed! I remember feeling this and worrying as a child. Right lower abdominal pain is not necessarily inflammation and can be addressed first with a glass of water. If the pain does not decrease after one or two glasses than a health care professional should be contacted of course. We can diagnose certain symptoms with a glass of water before jumping to medication. What empowering knowledge to have. I have tried it with headaches recently. I gave it one to two hours and it was gone with water and slowing down. I was extremely happy to have not used harmful drugs unnecessarily.
I love Dr. Batmanghelidj
I absolutely love this book. It was one of the most fluid (no pun intended ;-) and easy to read books. I was engaged and learning the entire time. I love how human and scientific his writing is. It’s nice that it’s not one or the other! Dr. Batmanghelidj tells the stories of his patients and the reader hears the benefit of drinking more water. It’s nice to hear real tales of people feeling better. I enjoyed the scientific breakdowns as well when discussing the stomach/duodenum, the joints/cartilage, brain chemistry, as well as various diseases and aliments. I am still digesting it all and I want to read the book again soon. I have been recommending this book to all who are interested since I finished it! I appreciate his work very much. He seems like such a sweet man who really wanted to do good for people in the world! Gotta honor that.