How important is drinking water for your fertility?
Everyone knows you need to drink plenty of water for optimum health. Yet according to research up to 80% of Australians may be in a state of dehydration. That makes us 5% worse than America and France, who sit at 75% dehydrated nations.
Australians drink about 5.5 glasses of water per day, which is a lot lower than the recommended 10 glasses per day by the Institute of Medicine.
Dehydration causes various mental and physical health issues including mood swings, headaches, concentration difficulty, foggy memory, dizziness, bad breath, constipation, bad skin…the list goes on. But what effect does dehydration have on our hormones and fertility? Turns out, staying hydrated is critical when you are trying to conceive.
50-70% of your body weight is water. Your blood is 85% water, your muscles 80%, your brain 75% and even your bones are 25% water, which is an indication of just how important water is for your health. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to function. Water maintains our temperature, removes waste, and lubricates our joints.
Water keeps all of our organs and cells functioning properly. This includes the reproductive cells (egg, sperm) and reproductive organs (brain, ovaries, uterus, testes, thyroid).
How drinking water helps with female fertility
It improves your blood circulation.
That means your reproductive organs are getting more of what they need and the hormones in your body are also travelling faster to the places where needed. Water absorption happens very rapidly, within five minutes from mouth to bloodstream, peaking in about twenty minutes. Interestingly, the temperature of the water also appears to affect this speed. Cold water actually gets sucked in about 20% faster!
Hydration helps get rid of toxins. Each kidney contains cells tasked with cleansing your blood. However, these microscopic filters can only eliminate the toxins with urine when you are properly hydrated. It is also a good way to lower the risk of developing kidney stones.
Fertile cervical mucus.
When your cervical mucus is the consistency of raw egg white, this provides an ideal environment for sperm to travel through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes. As 90% of the mucus is water, it might get too thick to allow sperm to penetrate the cervix if you aren’t drinking enough water.
Conception and pregnancy.
Water helps create plump egg follicles and a strong blood supply to the womb lining. Once the egg is fertilised, the endometrium, the innermost lining of your uterus needs to become a thick, cushioning and nourishing environment for the embryo to grow. As your body expands during pregnancy, your blood volume also increases requiring more H2O.
How drinking water helps with male fertility
In addition to improving overall health, staying hydrated can improve semen production too. If there is not enough water in the body, semen will be thicker, and sperm may have trouble swimming.
So, how much water should you drink?
Here are some basic guidelines:
- For men, the Institute of Medicine recommends a total of 13 cups (about 3 litres) of fluid each day.
- For women, they suggest 9 cups (a little over 2 litres) of fluid each day. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups of water daily. And those who breastfeed need about 12 cups.
But more accurately, use your urine as a guide.
The colour should be a pale yellow colour. If it is a deep, dark yellow then you are probably not drinking enough water. If it is colourless, you might be drinking too much water which can cause salts & other electrolytes in your body to become too diluted.
Stick to the good old ‘glass’, or a steel bottle
How you store your water is also important. Glass and stainless-steel water containers are the best.
If you are trying to conceive, try and not use plastic bottles if possible. There is increasing evidence that BPA’s could have a negative effect on human fertility.
Here are some easy tips to help up your intake of water
- Try and start your day with a large glass of water to rehydrate. You breathe out a small amount of water every time you exhale as you’re sleeping. If you sweat at night, you’re also losing water. A glass of water first thing helps to increase the flow of oxygen around your body, making you feel more alert and ready to tackle the day ahead.
- Have a bottle with you constantly and make it a habit to take a sip whenever you have down time.
- Use an app to track your water intake or set recurring water break reminders on your phone.
- Buy a bottle with pre-marked timed intervals.
- Swap your coffee or black tea for caffeine free herbal teas
- Jazz your water up with some fruit or cucumber in your water to add a little flavour without adding in the sugar you find in straight fruit juice.
Optimal fertility starts with the basics – water being the most critical ingredient to life. Try and make it a daily habit to drink enough for your reproductive needs.