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Water Intoxication

CarOCD

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Hi Everyone,

I have debilitating anxiety and OCD about water inoxication (or hyponatremia) that I’m worried I got a few years ago. Basically, I was worried about dehydration before going to a hot sauna, and drank a few liters of water at once. I got very sick, with excessive vomiting and urination for an hour or so and felt very unwell. I didn’t have any seizures or coma which is good, but I’m worried that my brain my have swelled a little bit and I have some damage. I’m trying to convince myself that my body was just protecting itself with the vomiting, but a lot of health articles say that once you vomit, you already have swelling. It’s all very scary and I’m just worried about permanent brain damage. I had a brain MRI subsequently for other reasons, and it was normal, so that’s also good. But who knows if that sensitive enough to see everything! I’m ready to give up.

Thank you,

-Pat
 

AnxiousBean

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Hi Pat!!
You're okay. That MRI is very sensitive and would have picked up any swelling. When drinking, or even eating too much of something, our stomachs can't hold all of it so it needs a place to go. The quickest route is to throw it up. This has happened to my mom from having to drink a lot of water for a medical scan. It was simply because she couldn't hold any more fluid. The important thing is that you peed and got the extra water out. I think a more dangerous thing that could happen from drinking to much too fast is a drop in electrolytes which fortunately can be replenished. Your MRI would have shown something and you would be experiencing significant pain if your brain was swelling that much.
 

CarOCD

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Thank you for your reply! I am actually worried about the drop in electrolytes - the hyponatremia aspect of it, which is what drives the brain swelling! The MRI was actually years after the water / vomiting incident so it wasn’t real time.

Everything I read online says that too much water too quickly will cause a drop in sodium concentration, then brain swelling, which produces symptoms of vomiting. Thankfully, mine didn’t progress to coma or seizure, but I’m still super worried my brain actually swelled and that’s what caused the vomiting. I was in a lot of pain and wasn’t eating anything!
 

AnxiousBean

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It's reassuring that the MRI was a little bit after it happened. If it didn't show anything, then you're in the clear! That's a good thing! :)
 

CarOCD

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Thank you! Do you think the vomiting was from full blown water intoxication? Or more likely just stomach overload? Ugh I’ve been so anxious about this for days.
 

CarOCD

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I remember it subsiding a bit and I went to bed. But I was a bit delirious and tired after all of the vomiting. I wish I had eaten some salty food to balance my sodium levels but I didn’t.
 

AnxiousBean

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You're okay :) those symptoms sound totally normal. If it happens again, go see your doctor. :) but I think you're okay!!!
 
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