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The Importance of Drinking Water

January 6, 2016 - Rhys Branman, MD

Why should you drink an adequate amount of water? There are lots of reasons! Water allows your kidneys to remove waste material from your system. Water softens bowels and keeps you from being constipated. Remaining well hydrated helps you heal from surgery faster. Water is also a critical ingredient in keeping your skin young and healthy looking.

Your skin wants water. As we age we lose skin elasticity. Much of this has to do with not drinking enough water, although much of it also has to do with sun damage and genetics. But hydration is a large factor in preventing loss of elasticity in your skin, and preventing the deepening of fine lines and wrinkles. Our skin is actually a large organ that requires a continual supply of water as it releases perspiration that then evaporates. You might remember that many injectable fillers (such as Juvéderm® and Restylane®) for plumping up the  face and thus eliminating wrinkles, are actually made from hyaluronic acid, a water drawing substance that increases hydration at the specific site where they are injected.

As for removing waste material from your body, after surgery anesthesia remains in your body. You may also be taking pain medication. These drugs can cause constipation. By drinking plenty of water, you can help wash the culprits from your system while minimizing constipation. The large intestine depends upon fluid to eliminate waste. Reduced hydration also interferes with healing because the nutrients needed for healing cannot get to the wounds at the surgical site. Water helps our blood transport nutrients, and to transport waste away from the cells. After surgery, more fluids may be necessary because of wound drainage, as with liposuction. It is very important to stay well hydrated following surgery with liquids.

Generally it is recommended that a person drink six or eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day. In actuality, there is no definitive research that specifies that amount, but it is a good rule of thumb. It is believed that 20% of our daily water intake comes from food. Some fruits and vegetables are almost 100% water, for instance: watermelon, berries, grapes, mangos, tomatoes and lettuce. So before and after surgery, eat healthy and drink plenty of water!

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