Dehydration Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Dehydration Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Dehydration is a condition in which the amount of fluid that leaves the body is greater than the amount of fluid that enters. This can occur due to reduced fluid intake or excessive fluid expenditure.

Excretion of fluids from the body occurs through sweat, tears, vomiting, urination, and defecation.

Someone who is dehydrated requires immediate treatment to prevent complications that can arise.

Some groups that are more at risk for dehydration are:

  • Infants and children, because their low body weight makes them more sensitive to lack of fluids with smaller volumes
  • Elderly individual
  • Individuals with long-term illnesses such as diabetes
  • Sports athletes, because they can lose large amounts of body fluids after exercising for a long time and excessive sweat production


Dehydration can cause several signs and symptoms, including:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry lips and mouth
  • Feeling tired
  • Head feels dizzy
  • Decreased frequency and amount of urination
  • Pass dark yellow urine
  • Weight loss
  • Sunken eyes
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Pulse increased

Signs and symptoms that occur can also be used to determine the approximate degree of dehydration, namely mild-moderate dehydration or severe dehydration. Related Article: What are the Signs of Dehydration?

In addition, signs and symptoms of dehydration can also vary according to age. For example, in infants and children, dehydration can be suspected if you see that there are no tears when crying, sunken fontanel, child looks fussy, and so on.

Meanwhile, in adults, the symptoms observed may include feeling tired, dark yellow urine, feeling dizzy, and so on.


Dehydration can be caused by a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, fever, vomiting, burns, kidney disorders, or other ailments. Apart from that, dehydration can also arise as a result of other things, for example, increased sweat production after exercising or strenuous activities, alcohol consumption, and various other things.


Determining the diagnosis of dehydration can be based on the signs and symptoms observed. A person who is dehydrated generally has low blood pressure, a fast pulse, reduced urine production and is dark yellow in color, and so on.

Apart from that, you can also do blood tests to observe decreased electrolyte levels in the body and kidney function if needed, and check urine to see if there is dehydration and the degree of dehydration.

After that, it is also very important to determine the disease that caused the onset of dehydration.

The diagnosis of the disease underlying the condition of dehydration can be determined by medical interviews and a thorough direct physical examination according to the complaints experienced by the patient, as well as certain supporting examinations if needed.


Treatment for dehydration also depends on age, degree of severity, and the cause of the dehydration condition.

In conditions of mild-moderate dehydration where food and drink intake is still good, for infants and children who experience dehydration due to diarrhea, vomiting, or fever, oral rehydration fluids can be given according to the doctor’s instructions.

These fluids contain water and salt in specific proportions to replace both fluids and lost electrolytes. In adults, it can be advised to increase the intake of water and other fluids.

In conditions of severe dehydration, treatment can be done in a hospital with fluids & salts which can be given intravenously (by infusion).

In this way, the replacement of lost fluids & electrolytes can be done more quickly.

is also an effective way when intake through the mouth or digestive tract is not possible.


Preventing dehydration can be done by ensuring that fluid intake is always sufficient. The recommended water intake is around 2,000–2,500 ml per day. However, this also depends on age, gender, other intakes, and the presence or absence of certain diseases.

Because the level of activity and sweat production is different for each individual, the water intake needed each day can also be different. A person who exercises is also advised to increase fluid intake to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.

In addition, someone who has a higher risk, for example, individuals who work under the hot sun all day or someone who is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, can also increase fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

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