August 1923


Author Affiliations


From the Division of Medicine, The Mayo Foundation.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1923;32(2):157-174. doi:10.1001/archinte.1923.00110200003001

Strange as it may appear, little or nothing is known concerning the effects of an excessive intake of water. Statements such as "even water must be toxic" are heard almost daily, yet the toxicity attending excessive ingestion of water has been taken for granted rather than proved. So far as I am aware the symptoms of water poisoning and the mode of death in water intoxication have never been determined. This is due, in part, to the fact that quantities in excess of those taken voluntarily are necessary for its production, and that the rôle of water intoxication in pathologic conditions has not as yet been fully appreciated.

Nature has provided adequately against water intoxication. The sensation of satiety following the ingestion of small or moderate quantities of water renders the subsequent ingestion of larger amounts increasingly difficult. The pylorus prevents the sudden or immediate egress of large volumes of

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