The Water Trick - Fast Help

    A Trick to Prevent Dizziness & Other Orthostatic Symptoms

If you drink a "bolus" - a lot of water fast, you can help lower the chance you will get dizzy or make it less intense.1-7

  When to use this approach
     —  Before shopping,
     —  Before going to an appointment,
     —  Before showering or getting dressed,
     —  Before doing more physical activity or walking.
     —  If you are feeling especially thirsty and know you are "short" on fluids.

  What To Do

  •   How much to drink: 2 cups - 500 cc, it can be hot or cold.

  •   Drink it quickly - over 3-5 minutes. "chug it"

  •   How quickly it works: It can start to have an effect in a few minutes.

  •   Its biggest effect: in 20-30 minutes.

  •   How long it lasts: 1 hour, possibly up to 2 hours.

  •   What does it do: It has a "pressor effect" - it increases the blood pressure.

  What It Does

Jordan reported that drinking this much water, this fast - increased the BP sitting down by 43 mmHg.

It can increase the standing BP more than 20 mm Hg for about 2 hours.3,6I

Drinking 480 cc (about 2 cups) of water had a bigger effect on the BP than taking the same amount by vein (IV).3

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Energy Savers

  1. Figueroa JJ, Basford JR, Low PA. Preventing and treating orthostatic hypotension: As easy as A, B, C. Cleve Clin J Med. 2010 May;77(5):298-306.  Abstract.  Article PDF.
  2. Freeman, Roy. Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension.NEJM 2008;358(6):615-624. Abstract
  3. Jordan J, Shannon JR, Black BK, et al. The pressor response to water drinking in humans: a sympathetic reflex? Circulation . Am J Med 2002; 112:355–360.
  4. Shannon JR, Diedrich A, Biaggioni I, et al. Water drinking as a treatment for orthostatic syndromes. Am J Med 2002; 112:355–360.
  5. Lu C-C, Diedrich A, Tung C-S, et al. Water Ingestion as prophylaxis against syncope. Circulation. 2003;108:2660 –2665.
  6. Jordan J, Shannon JR, Grogan E, Biaggioni I, Robertson D. A potent pressor response elicited by drinking water. Lancet. 1999 Feb 27; 353(9154):723. Abstract .
  7. Low PA and Singer W.  Update on Management of Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension. Lancet Neurol. 2008 May; 7(5): 451–458. Abstract. Article PDF.

Author: Kay E. Jewell, MD
Page Last Updated: August 28, 2012