Water balance in the body is a meticulously regulated process where losses and gains are balanced to achieve a proper ‘homeostasis’. During this process, the osmotic pressures within the cells and in the spaces between cells are regulated without deviating much from the norm. However, an imbalance between the water gained and the water lost may lead to a derangement in the osmotic pressure and therefore a derailment in the cellular and organ functions. Thus, this article will discuss the ways in which the body gains water, as well as how it loses the same depending on the body state and the environmental factors.
How does the body gain water?
The commonest and the most significant method of gaining water into the body is through drinking water and other fluids. Thus, researchers have calculated the water gain through such means as amounting to around 60% of the total fluid gain. The second most significant method of gaining water into the body is through eating moist food and the amount that is gained accounts for around 30% of the total fluid gain. It should also be said that the moisture present in foods, as well as the water taken orally is absorbed into the body through the small and the large intestines. Thirdly, it is recognized that the cells produce certain amount of water, which accounts for around 10% of the total fluid gain through cellular respiration. During this process, the cells utilize oxygen and glucose to produce energy while releasing carbon dioxide and water as by products.
How does the body lose water?
Among the ways in which the body loses water, the amount of water excreted as urine is the most significant. The water loss that takes place through urination amounts to around 60% of the total fluid loss from the body. At the same time, a diminished urine output is considered a possible sign of dehydration, a dysfunction in the ability to excrete urine collecting in the bladder (e.g. a posterior urethral valve, hypertrophic prostate or a bladder dysfunction) or else a functional deficit in the filtering process taking place in the kidneys (e.g. acute or chronic renal failure).
Apart from the losses taking place as urine, some of the other methods of losing water from the body include sweating, through feces and through evaporation. The amount of water loss that takes place through feces is around 6% of the total fluid loss and the amount of fluid loss that take place through sweating is almost the same. However, humans tend to lose around 28% of the total fluid loss through evaporation, which take place during breathing, or else through the skin.
When looking at these methods of gaining and losing water to and from the body, it is apparent that enough water should be consumed as oral fluids, as well as through moist food in order to compensate the mostly uncontrollable fluid losses. It is not desirable nor advisable to prevent the water loss that takes place naturally, because each and every mechanism has its own purpose.