While climbing Killi (Mount Kilimanjaro), we were reminded to drink constantly until we reach the summit.

I noticed that when I did stop and take some sips of water on the final push, I initially felt worse for a short period of time afterwards. What causes this?

  • 2
    @Anne Please give us more details. What do you mean by "feeling worse"? Did you get problems with your stomach, e.g. feeling an urge to vomit? – Wills Oct 26 '16 at 20:21
  • 2
    Welcome to the site! Congratulations for climbing Kilimanjaro! That's a huge accomplishment! I hope you call or see a doctor before going on another big climb. Answering Wills about what "feeling worse" means would be helpful. How long did the feeling last? Was it only after those last sips and not any others along the way? Have you had the problem before? Is the terrain harder on that last part? Wills is right about digestion being harder in altitude, due to lower oxygen. Even in some regular sports, overexertion causes lightheadness or nausea, and high climbing is worse. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Oct 26 '16 at 21:24
  • Related: outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/9466/… – Wills Oct 27 '16 at 6:09
  • 2
    There is no way for anyone else to answer this question. You're talking about a subjective sensation that you experienced, thousands of miles away from where we're sitting in our chairs. – Ben Crowell Oct 27 '16 at 15:29
  • 1
    If you asked this on Health.SE it would get closed as a request for personal medical advice, and that's really what this is, as @BenCrowell pointed out. – Carey Gregory Oct 29 '16 at 4:04

A reason could be, that your digestion works worse in altitude. Because your stomach is getting work to do when you drink (or even worse, when you eat), you could feel sick so generally your condition feels worse.

Nonetheless your body needs the water, it is imperative to be properly hydrated. So if you can't drink anymore (and if you can't eat anymore for longer time periods) you will get weaker. And you might get in serious trouble then. You also can't decide if physical problems are caused by dehydration or altitude sickness, which makes it even more difficult to judge your situation.

  • 1
    Thx for the edit Sue, I am not a native English speaker :) – Wills Oct 26 '16 at 21:41
  • 3
    This is pure speculation. – Ben Crowell Oct 27 '16 at 15:29
  • @BenCrowell it looks like the details of gut absorption at altitude above 5,000 m is still questionable. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232874 the answer is not in conflict with the reference I found, and is a reasonable probability (which it is declared to be "A reason could be") – James Jenkins Oct 28 '16 at 12:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.