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Dehydration and GI Diseases: Why Hydration Is a Challenge for Patients

Digestive diseases and gastrointestinal disorders affect millions of people in U.S.  In fact, one estimate from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggested that 60 to 70 million Americans[i] suffer from a digestive disease.

Dehydration is often a concern for GI patients, especially those suffering from Crohn’s, Colitis and IBS, because of their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which both affect hundreds of thousands in the U.S.[ii], can cause diarrhea, a leading cause of dehydration. And short bowel syndrome, which affects between 10,000 and 20,000 Americans[iii], prevents the small intestine from effectively absorbing water and electrolytes.

Dehydration Makes for a Greater Need for Outpatient Visits

Estimates suggest Crohn’s disease patients make nearly 800,000 outpatient visits per year, and doctor visits are required by roughly 64 percent of patients.[iv] For ulcerative colitis, the number is nearly as high; UC requires roughly a half-million outpatient visits per year. Treatment for dehydration is often a cause for medical visits for patients with GI diseases.

What does diarrhea cause dehydration for IBD patients? Diarrhea, a common symptom of GI diseases, causes the body to lose fluids and electrolytes rapidly, which must then be replaced to prevent dehydration. In most cases, water and electrolytes can be replaced by drinking water and through proper diet. But for Crohn’s and colitis patients, especially if persistent diarrhea is present, it can be challenging to maintain this water/electrolyte balance.

Recognizing the symptoms of dehydration can help patients prevent it from progressing. Early dehydration symptoms include thirst, fatigue, dry mouth, decreased urination, dizziness and headache. But urine color is one of the most reliable identifiers of dehydration; the darker the color the more dehydrated you may be.

What Are Oral Rehydration Solutions? How Can They Help People With IBD?

Severe digestive diseases symptoms can make hydration particularly challenging to maintain. And that’s why oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop can be helpful.

What is oral rehydration? DripDrop is an oral rehydration powder that contains a precise ratio of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. DripDrop’s doctor-developed formula is designed to help replenish the electrolytes and water that people lose due to diarrhea, vomiting or excessive sweating.

But DripDrop also speeds up absorption of water and electrolytes by the small intestine. Here’s why: The precise ratio of sugars and salts in DripDrop activate the sodium-glucose co-transport in the small intestine. The system absorbs sodium and glucose molecules, and in the process, additional water is drawn the bloodstream. (Here’s a more detailed look at hydration science behind DripDrop). Thus, drinking DripDrop can lead to swifter rehydration.

[i] Everhart, J. E. (Ed.). Digestive diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and impact. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1994.
[ii] Peery AF, Dellon ES, Lund J, et al. Burden of gastrointestinal disease in the United States: 2012 update. Gastroenterology 2012;143: 1179–1187.
[iii] Ibid.  
[iv] Ibid.

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