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By Cathy Chapman, Patient Representative, the MSA Coalition

Staying hydrated is particularly important for MSA patients because of the autonomic dysfunction with temperature intolerance and orthostatic hypotension.

Here are some helpful guidelines for adequate hydration from the MSA Coalition web site:

  • Drink at least 8 glasses, about 2 quarts, of water per day – more in warm weather or if you exercise vigorously – to ensure proper hydration of the bowel contents.
  • A convenient way to keep track of how much water you drink is to measure out your daily allotment in the morning and use that as your drinking water throughout the day.
  • Warm liquids will promote peristalsis, while cold liquids may inhibit proper bowel function and cause uncomfortable muscle cramping.
  • Coffee, tea, and some herbal teas act as diuretics, drawing water out of your system that can lead to dehydration. To avoid the dehydrating effects of these beverages, drink decaffeinated coffees and teas. Alternatively, you can offset their diuretic effects by consuming extra water.

TIP: Flavoring plain water with slices of lemon, orange or fresh mint adds variety.