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Large amounts of water can be lost in a short period of time with prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea. One or both of these symptoms can be seen with a wide variety of conditions. Some examples include:

Fluids may also be lost due to:

  • Fever
  • Burns
  • Intense or prolonged physical exertion and sweating such as may occur with athletes training in hot temperature and/or for long periods of time
  • Excessive urination – may occur with:
    • Some diseases that affect the body's ability to concentrate urine and conserve water
    • Uncontrolled diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis)
    • Use of medications such as diuretics
  • Excessive bleeding

A lack of fluids may also occur because there is insufficient intake. This can happen:

  • In infants who cannot communicate thirst
  • In people with inflamed mouths or sore throats who don't drink enough because of the pain
  • In some elderly people who need assistance with access to water
  • Due to a lack of available water
  • With a decreased sense of thirst or appetite

Some rare causes include:

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