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My Secret Weapon for Combating Dehydration

As a child growing up with Crohn’s disease I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital.

I would arrive suffering from chronic diarrhea and vomiting, that lead to severe dehydration, a symptom that has always been a big problem for me. I would be so weak and lifeless that the hospital care providers would immediately start an IV so I could receive fluids during my week plus stay until my health stabilized.

Even after having my entire large intestine removed and living with severe Crohn’s disease, hydration remains a challenge. In fact, many patients living with inflammatory bowel disease often find themselves dehydrated, and many of us require IV fluids from time-to-time either at inpatient or at an infusion clinic.

Every day your body loses fluids and electrolytes through urine, stool, sweat, and even breath. When you are dehydrated your body is lacking enough fluids and electrolytes to function properly. Dehydration can be dangerous and even life threatening particularly in children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Not all patients who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis will experience dehydration, but such health issues can increase your risk. For many patients active inflammation in the digestive tract results in diarrhea. Diarrhea of any duration can lead to dehydration. Another symptom of IBD that some patients may experience is vomiting. Excessive vomiting can also result in dehydration.

Like myself, several patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have had colectomy surgery and live with an ileostomy or an ileo-pouch. Hydration may become even more of a challenge when the colon, the digestive organ primarily responsible for the absorption of water and electrolytes, is absent. This can also be the case for patients living with a temporary ostomy that bypasses the colon. After colectomy nearly 400-1000 ml of nearly isotonic ileostomy fluid may be excreted resulting in chronic water and salt depletion.

Crohn’s disease patients who have had several small bowel resection surgeries resulting in Short Bowel Syndrome are also at higher risk of dehydration because SBS patients experience chronic diarrhea. When I attended the Oley Conference this past June, hydration was a key focus and many hydration stations and ORS products were showcased because many of the attendees live with IBD and/or SBS.

The following are some symptoms of dehydration:

thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, sunken eyes, dry skin, fidney stones, feeling confused or disoriented, rapid pulse and breathing

The symptoms you experience depend on how severely you are dehydrated. Dehydration can range from mild to severe. It is important to note that some patients may be dehydrated and not even realize it because they are not experiencing symptoms or because they have adapted to the symptoms of dehydration.

Oral rehydration solutions (ORS), like DripDrop that contain a mixture of water, sugar, and electrolytes, are an effective treatment for 90-95% of patients suffering from diarrhea, regardless of the cause. Although drinking plenty of water is important for hydration, water alone does not contain electrolytes. Drinking fluids that contain electrolytes can help prevent and treat dehydration.

You may already know this, but I am a DripDrop Ambassador. I discovered DripDrop when I attended Digestive Disease Week last year and stopped at their booth to get more information thinking that it would be a product that many of my readers would find interesting. Little did I know I would become an avid user myself. I have always said that I will not back a brand or recommend a product that I don’t believe in and use myself, and that promise remains true today.

DripDrop is a product I believe in because ORS has been proven effective in treating dehydration. I think back to my childhood when I would be so weak and bedridden from diarrhea and vomiting and my mom would keep calling my doctor asking for suggestions. We tried so many things (popsicles, vernors, broth, and even warm jello water) but they never told us about using an ORS and I know it could have helped. Here are some reasons why I choose DripDrop over other ORS products or making my own at home:

Taste: I have always struggled with drinking enough fluids and have been very picky about the taste. Doctors know that oral rehydration solutions work but have had problems with patient compliance because of the taste. DripDrop aimed to create an ORS that was effective but also tastes good and I think they succeeded. It tastes a bit salty (but I love salt! Who doesn’t? I mean c’mon!) but if you can handle the salt (why couldn’t you? Salt is life!) it’s delicious. The lemon flavor is my favorite.

Convenience: I can take DripDrop packets with me everywhere I go so that I can stay on top of my fluids and electrolytes and prevent dehydration before it happens. Like I was saying, hydration is always a challenge. It’s not easy and sometimes impossible to whip up an ORS wherever I am.

Avoiding IV fluids: I’ve needed to receive IV fluids more times than I can count over the years. For some reason my doctors never told me about using an ORS. I have found that using an ORS has helped me decrease my need for IV fluids. It's a huge time and money saver for a lot of patients!

It’s helped me stay active: Since the removal of my large intestine I've had a very difficult time with exercise. I would arrive to the gym dehydrated and have to start working out shortly after starting. I felt weak, dizzy, and almost passed out a few times. This would happen to me every time I tried to exercise. On top of that my muscles cramped up, I had headaches, and my heart would race. Because of my health I am certainly no gym rat and my exercise routines have been verrrry inconsistent (mostly non-existent!) but at least now when I am able to go to the gym I feel like I am getting somewhere. A lot of my issues were due to dehydration and I didn’t even realize it until I started drinking DripDrop before I went to the gym and then sipping on it while I was exercising. It honestly made a huge difference for me. Hydration is important y’all!

- Sara Ringer

For those of you (like me) who experience regular dehydration, CVS is offering 20% off + FREE shipping when you buy more than one box. Visit this link to learn more.

*Disclaimer: Do I look like a doctor? Duh, of course I do! But I’m not. Take this blog as a handy additional piece of advice from the advice you should be seeking from your doctors. ORS products are extremely useful in treating dehydration but there may be instances where you need different medical intervention like IV fluids. If you think you are experiencing severe dehydration call your doctors people!

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