8 Ways to Stay Hydrated With POTS
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Many people who live with chronic illness struggle to stay hydrated, especially those living with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, also known as POTS. Whether you just forget to drink, are sensitive to the taste of tap water, need your water to be a specific temperature or have problems ingesting fluid, making sure your body gets the hydration it needs can feel like a chore.
POTS is a form of dysautonomia, an umbrella term for conditions that affect the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls automatic bodily functions such as your heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. When you have POTS, your heart rate increases more than normal upon standing and blood pressure shifts as well. Symptoms include fainting, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, brain fog and more.
If you struggle to stay hydrated, you’re not alone. To help you on your POTS journey, we asked The Mighty’s POTS community for their best hydration hacks and tips. Here’s what they recommended.
1. Infused Water
Something as simple as adding a bit of fruit or a few sprigs of an herb like mint can be a fantastic way to make water taste better. Plus, you get the benefit of using fresh and real additives.
“I keep it simple: water with lemon slices. Sometimes I’ll add a pinch of pink salt if I need an extra boost.” -Courtney M.
2. Coconut Water
With natural electrolytes and plenty of potassium, coconut water is a great alternative for when you want a quick break from water.
Buy the coconut water above for $3.14 each on Amazon.
3. Sports Drinks
Gatorade and Powerade have been staples of athletes for ages. While the sugar content tends to be on the higher side, they are good if you need a quick electrolyte boost. If you are concerned about your sugar intake, some brands offer reduced sugar or “lite” versions.
“I get large packs [of Powerade] delivered with my groceries and I keep them at home and at work. I was amazed at how much my energy improved and symptoms reduced by drinking Powerade!” -Ellie B.
“Propel and Vitamin Water. I order mine on Amazon Pantry and get them pretty cheap. Not having to lift them from the shelf to the cart, to the trunk of my car to my fridge is great. Now it’s at my doorstep, and I can get someone to carry the box to the fridge for me.” -Lolo M.
Buy the Propel above for $3.59 for a pack of 6 from Amazon.
4. Water Additives
There are many ways you can spice up your water. Powders — such as Liquid I.V., Drip Drop, and even Pedialyte — say they boost the hydration of plain water. Other options include effervescent tablets like Nuun that come in a variety of flavors. While different options will contain different vitamins and nutrients, all are full of electrolytes.
“I add Liquid I.V. to my water bottles. I am someone who does not always like the taste [of water], but Liquid I.V. improves the taste and helps me stay hydrated better than just water alone.” -Kaitlyn P.
“I start and finish each day with Pedialyte! I get the powder packs in bulk and mix in a water bottle.” -Rebecca H.
“My biggest go-to is Nuun electrolyte tabs. They’re not overly expensive, the tubes are easy to keep on me, they’re not sickeningly sweet, and they come in a nice wide variety of flavors!” -Kaede H.
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5. Water Bottles
Sometimes it can be a struggle to find a water bottle that fits you and your lifestyle. There are many options available including popular brands such as Yeti, Nalgene, Hydro Flask, and CamelBak. If these options are out of your price range, discount stores like Costco often have great alternatives.
“I keep Nalgene bottles and Hydro Flasks everywhere I spend a lot of time, that way even if I am able to get out I have a bottle to take with me. I cover the bottles in encouraging and funny stickers to help keep my spirits high. It’s easy to know how much water you are getting, and salt tabs can easily be added if needed during a flare.” -Courtney B.
“I have one of those 32oz water bottles with hour marks on them, as a goal to finish it by. That’s the only way I can drink enough, by making it a challenge.” -Kimberlee W.
“I love cold water; ever since I started using my Hydro Flask water bottle I drink more water each day. This bottle is insulated and keeps my water super cold even on hot days. The company makes bottles of all sizes and cups too. I have a 21oz bottle that I put a silicone straw into — it’s just the right size and not too heavy.” -Virginia
Get the 21oz Hydro Flask above for $35.95 from Amazon.
6. Tracking Apps
Technology is at our fingertips daily, so why not use it to our advantage? With numerous apps like Plant Nanny — which waters your virtual plants every time you hydrate — and other trackers, there’s bound to be a fit for you.
“I have an app on my phone [Drink Water Reminder N Tracker] that reminds me to drink water.” -Rachel F.
“I have a timer on my Apple Watch (which doubles as my heart rate monitor) to ‘breathe and drink’ regardless of whether I’m thirsty or not.” -Brittany M.J.
Potsies are well aware of the benefits of salt as increasing your salt and fluid intake can help increase blood volume. Picking salty snacks can help reduce your symptoms by increasing your thirst, making you drink more fluids and stay hydrated.
“Salty snacks throughout the day, lots of fluid intake. When I am feeling low, I drink pickle juice.” -Melany M.
“Lately I’ve been having a protein shake and chicken broth for lunch.” -Monica L.Y.
“If I feel ‘weird’ and nothing else helps, I eat a super salty snack. That usually does the trick.” -Marquelle W.
Get the pickles above for $2.98 from Amazon.
When getting hydration becomes too difficult, some people with POTS — many with comorbid conditions such as gastroparesis — opt to get IV fluids. While there are services that offer IV hydration at home, you should talk to your doctor before using one of these services, as they may not have experience treating those who have chronic illnesses. In most cases, your doctor will have you come into their office or a medical facility for treatment.
“I have gastroparesis on top of POTS, so I rely on once a week infusions through my port. I’m lucky if I can get in 40 Oz a day.” -Jessica O.
To learn more about living with POTS, check out these articles:
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