Dehydration Causes Stress
And Stress Can Cause Dehydration
by Nancy Hearn, CNC

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

stress headache

It might seem bold to state that dehydration causes stress, but it only makes sense when we understand that the average adult body is over 70 percent water – and every single function in the body and the brain requires adequate water.

In the book Hexagonal Water: The Ultimate Solution, author M.J. Pangman writes that “Dehydration is the number one cause of stress in the human body.”  

In fact, many of the symptoms of chronic dehydration are similar to the symptoms of chronic stress.

According to water expert and author F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., in Your Body’s Many Cries for Water:

“Dehydration equals stress, and once stress establishes, there is an associated mobilization of primary materials from the body stores.

"The process ‘mops up’ some of the water reserves of the body. Consequently, dehydration causes stress, and stress causes further dehydration.”

Excess Hormone Production

The way the body responds to stress is also similar to the way it responds to dehydration. Basically, the body assumes a survival mode, and takes the fight-or-flight position.

Get Happy with HeartMath Transformation Systems

What this means, in part, is that several powerful hormones are released and remain activated until the stressful situation or state of dehydration is resolved.

According to Dr. Batmanghelidj . . .

The key hormones involved in both the stress and dehydration response are cortisone, prolactin, endorphins, vasopressin, and rennin-angiotensin.

Batmanghelidj explains the roles of these different hormones to essentially get us through the period of stress.  

However, if the action of these hormones continues for too long—such as in chronic stress or chronic dehydration—critical bodily functions are affected.

For example, if cortisone production continues for too long, certain reserves of amino acids in the body are depleted. Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. 

A prolonged secretion of prolactin in the body due to stress and chronic dehydration may be associated with the development of cancer in breast tissue, according to Dr. Batmanghelidj.

I have only given two examples of how these hormones (which are chemical messengers in the body) are affected by dehydration and stress.

The complex function of all of these hormones in relation to the stress response are explained in detail in Your Body’s Many Cries for Water.

Drinking More Water to Maintain Balance

Obviously, dehydration is not the only cause of stress, but it is safe to say that drinking enough water to stay fully hydrated is the number one thing you should do if you are experiencing any type of stress—acute or chronic.

In addition to drinking more water, you will achieve body-mind balance quicker if you eliminate alcohol and caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea and sodas. These beverages will only exacerbate the condition and weaken the adrenal system, which is central to the hormonal system.

In summary, dehydration and stress is a vicious cycle. Dehydration causes stress, and stress can cause further dehydration. 

Staying fully hydrated is a simple way you can help your body to deal with stressful situations and minimize the harmful effects of prolonged stress.


M.J. Pangman; Hexagonal Water: The Ultimate Solution; 2007.

F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.; Your Body’s Many Cries for Water; 2008.

Return from Dehydration Causes Stress to Dehydration Effects

Body & Mind Invigorated with HeartMath Transformation Systems

If you would like to reproduce or republish this article or any other article on this site, feel free to do so but please include a reference or link to the article at 

Did you find this page helpful? Please share it . . .

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Sign Up for Our Monthly

50% Off Select Filtration Systems

Visitor Comments

"This was the best and most straight forward info on the net yet. I asked a question and got an answer that made sense. Thank you so much!" - Linderlinder

FINALLY!!! I have been wondering about this for years with no 'solid' answer. This is exactly what I've been wanting to know! Thank you for this share..." by Andy

"Thank you for the information, Nancy. I appreciate it. Your article and findings are very helpful,  referring to dehydration." -  Carolyn

"Lemon water is one drink both my wife and I can't drink. It upsets our stomachs. We are in our sixties and in very good healthwell, better health now that we drink about 2 liters plus of water each day. It has made so much difference to our digestive systems and recovery every day. Thank you for your website and effort." - Rod