ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Drinking Too Much Water Can Kill You

Updated on January 17, 2018
Essential to life
Essential to life | Source

Water intoxication

It is true, water poisoning exists. Also known as dilutional hyponatremia. Though it may seem strange, the concept behind being killed by drinking too much water is easy to understand. A healthy person is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep the body hydrated and functioning properly. Water detoxifies our body through the processes of urination, sweating, bowel movement, and even crying. Drinking water also keeps our body temperature at a safe level.

So how can something so essential to my body, kill me? The cells in our body require mineral salts or electrolytes in order to function properly. Electrolytes also play a vital role to ensure that your nerve, heart, and muscle functions operate correctly. These sodium compounds tend to dissolve when there is an excessive intake of water, disrupting the balance of electrolytes in the body. When the natural balance of electrolytes is pushed out of safe limits, certain bodily functions get impaired, affecting up to the person's brain.


The stages of water intoxication

When there is too much water in the body, our cells absorb the water in order to increase the sodium concentration in our body fluids. In turn, the cells start to swell and become severely damaged. When brain cells swell, they tend to burst due to the thick skull surrounding the brain, restricting any more movement, Ultimately causing death.

A person suffering from water intoxication will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headache
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle pain
  • Dulled senses
  • Impairment of body coordination
  • Unable to think clearly

Water torture in history

Forced ingestion of water is a form of human torture that was used a long time ago. It was also referred to as Water cure.

  • It was used against the Filipinos by the American soldiers during the Philippine-American war.
  • Water cure was legalized in France during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Forced ingestion of huge amounts of water was used by Spain during the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Water torture was also used as an interrogation technique.
  • The Japanese used water torture against the Chinese and Americans during WWII.


Who's at risk of water intoxication?

  1. Infants
    Children with low body mass are more susceptible to water poisoning. Some children are forced to drink large amounts of water as punishment by unaware adults.
    3-year old Rosita Gonzalez died of water intoxication when her babysitter forced her to drink roughly 3 liters of water as punishment.
  2. Runners
    Participants in endurance sports such as running in a marathon are at risk of water intoxication due to continuous consumption of water during the course of the sport.
    2002 Boston Marathon participant Cynthia Lucero died of water intoxication.
  3. Fraternity hazing participants
    Forced consumption of water can be unforgiving. It was also used as an initiation rite.
    Matthew Carrington, a student at California State University,
    21, died of consuming huge amounts of water as an initiation rite.
  4. Water-drinking competitions
    Drinking large quantities of water was also involved in contests, usually when the contest hosts are unaware of the potentially lethal consequences of drinking too much water.
    Jennifer Strange from Rancho Cordova, California died hours after a water-drinking contest at a radio station. Civil charges were filed against the alleged station.
  5. Suicidal people
    Water intoxication can be used as a medium of suicide in cases where other means(such as a gun) deemed inaccessible.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)