Are Sports Drinks Good for Dehydration? Here’s What You Should Know

A woman with earphones and an arm band resting and drinking a sports drink after a workout.


From Gatorade and Powerade to electrolyte-enhanced waters and sports drinks, the market is filled with refueling beverages that promote healthy hydration post-workout.

While they promise to keep you hydrated and replenish lost electrolytes, the real questions are, do they actually work, and are they good for dehydration?

Although sports drinks may help restore lost electrolytes and increase your overall hydration level, there are some things to consider before you decide to swap out your tried-and-true water bottle for a flavored, sports-focused beverage. 

Let’s explore sports drinks and their impact on dehydration in further detail, including defining dehydration, its causes, symptoms, and whether or not sports drinks help with this condition altogether.

First, What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is a medical condition that occurs when your body loses more fluids than it’s taking in.

Loss or lack of water and fluids stops your body from effectively carrying out normal bodily functions. 

If fluids are not replenished, you will most likely experience dehydration symptoms that can quickly turn serious for your health.

What Causes Dehydration?

As mentioned, the leading cause of dehydration is your body’s lack of proper fluid balance.

While the most common cause of dehydration is not taking in enough fluids throughout the day due to lack of access, forgetfulness, or inability to, there are other causes to consider.

Dehydration can occur due to the following:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Side effects from certain medications
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Vomiting or the stomach flu
  • Frequent urination
  • Fever

Common Dehydration Symptoms

Dehydration affects everyone differently when it comes to severity and symptoms, but there are common symptoms to watch out for if you think that you or a loved one could be at risk.

The most common symptoms include

  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

In more severe cases, people may experience the following:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Sunken eyes
  • Reduced perspiration
  • Dry, shriveled skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever

While drinking fluids, particularly water and sports drinks, is usually enough to reverse mild dehydration, it may not be enough for those with severe dehydration.

For some, intravenous fluid is necessary to rehydrate. If you are experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, visit your local urgent care facility or emergency room now. 

Are Sports Drinks Good for Dehydration?

The short answer is yes; sports drinks are good for dehydration.

As its name suggests, sports drinks were created explicitly for athletes to prevent dehydration. While they’re not the end-all, be-all option to secure a hydrated future, their electrolyte fluids pack a punch before, during, and after a good workout.

You should not rely solely on hydration post-workout. In fact, maintaining hydration is the goal, so during your workout, try to take hydration breaks to balance hydration with sweat loss. After your workout, make it a goal to consume at least 8 ounces of water or a sports drink to refuel your hydration levels. 

While sports drinks have always been targeted at athletes and sporting events, they can also help during times of sickness, especially if you are experiencing moderate to severe diarrhea or vomiting. 

If you are sick with a stomach bug, take a few sips of your favorite sports drink every hour to help with hydration. Start slow to assess your body’s tolerance.

Alternatives to Sports Drinks

While sports drinks are a good option to help combat or help with dehydration, they shouldn’t always be your first choice when it comes to fluid consumption. 

Sports drinks should not be consumed daily, as they contain high levels of salt and sugar. This can be especially detrimental to those with certain health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

Other healthier ways to stay hydrated include

  • Regular water
  • Coconut water
  • Water infused with electrolytes
  • Pedialyte
  • Electrolyte tablets

If you need help with a plan to stay hydrated with your doctor to determine the best beverages for you.

Urgent Dehydration Treatment in Southaven

If you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms of dehydration, we encourage you to stop into Getwell Urgent Care for further evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment today. 

For some, rehydrating is not enough to stop symptoms; medical attention for dehydration may be needed right now. 

Urgent care is essential for those experiencing severe dehydration, including

  • Diarrhea for 24 hours or longer
  • Irritability
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Inability to keep fluids down
  • Bloody or black stool

Our urgent care facility in Southaven is open seven days a week with no appointments required. Simply walk in and get the care you need now.