A 59-year-old woman from London, England recently developed symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI) and decided that she would drink as much water as she could to "flush out her system."
"The woman inevitably ended up doing herself more harm as her sodium levels dropped dangerously low. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors said she was experiencing the effects of [water] poisoning or hyperhydration," reports Metro.
According to Mayo Clinic, drinking too much water—apart from an underlying medical condition—can lead to hyponatremia, a condition that happens when the level of sodium in your body drops to an abnormally low level. Too much water will dilute the sodium and make your cells swell. The swelling can be mild or life-threatening.
Fortunately, the woman recovered. She had spent 24 hours at King's College Hospital where her water intake was restricted to a liter.
For its part, the American Chemistry Society has said that consuming six liters of water in less than one day may be dangerous for a 165-pound person.
That said, water intoxication is extremely rare.
As the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out: "Under normal circumstances, hardly anyone consumes too much water. In fact, nearly all deaths related to water intoxication in normal individuals have resulted either from water-drinking contests (in which individuals attempt to consume large amounts of water) or from long bouts of exercise during which excessive amounts of fluid were consumed."