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How Long Do IV Fluids Stay in the Body?

September 01, 2022

How Long Do IV Fluids Stay in the Body?

When you receive fluids intravenously (through an IV), you get essential nutrients and minerals delivered directly into your bloodstream. The benefits of intravenous fluid support are innumerable, most notably that you will be hydrated and feel better, faster.

At The I.V. Doc, we offer a variety of in-home intravenous fluid therapy treatments and believe that with high-quality treatment comes high-quality service. Our team of licensed medical professionals will visit your home, office, or hotel room to deliver the IV therapy of your choosing.

So, why IV therapy? And how long do IV fluids stay in the body? In this article, we’ll share with you all the information you might need about IV therapy, how your body responds to it, and why intravenous fluids can help you feel much better and faster. 

How Much Water Should You Drink?

Before we get into the details about intravenous therapy, let’s talk about the building block of most IV fluid needs: hydration. On average, men should consume around 3.7 liters of water. Meanwhile, women consume about 2.7 liters of water per day.

If you are an athlete, are dehydrated after a night out, or travel frequently and therefore prone to jet lag, you might need more water than the recommended amount. Additionally, it is best to spread your liquid consumption throughout the day to avoid an upset stomach. 

The Concern With Dehydration

Dehydration, especially during the warmer months of the year, can cause serious health issues that can lead to hospitalization. If you are admitted to a hospital and need fluids, you’ll likely be given fluids intravenously. 

However, you don’t need to be admitted to a hospital to receive the benefits of intravenous fluid therapy – nor do you need to be experiencing discomfort. Intravenous fluid therapies can be incredibly nourishing, mainly when delivered in the comfort of your home, office, or hotel room. 

At The I.V. Doc, we have a team of medical professionals who come to you whether you are looking for a boost or are in serious need of some hydrating. 

Dehydration comes at a cost and can be very dangerous. The early onset symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and light urination. If you don’t address dehydration, or if it’s coupled with additional fluid loss brought about by vomiting or diarrhea, your body is at risk for serious dehydration.

Being proactive about hydrating is critical, regardless of your age or lifestyle choices, because, without the proper amount of fluids in your body, your system cannot process vital nutrients that your body needs to survive. Aside from the uncomfortable symptoms of dehydration, your body needs water to circulate vitamins and nutrients and keep your body functioning properly. 

Intravenous Fluids vs. Drinking Liquids

The process of intravenous fluids is essential because when fluids are delivered via an IV, they are led directly into your bloodstream. This allows for hydration and nutrients to be absorbed more quickly by your body than if drinking fluids hydrate you. When you receive fluids and nutrients intravenously, they don’t have to pass through your gastrointestinal tract and digest. 

As such, they can be absorbed more directly into your bloodstream. So, we know that delivering fluids intravenously works more quickly than drinking them orally, but what about how long those IV fluids stay in your body? There are several key factors that impact how long IV fluids stay in your body.

Hydration Levels

How hydrated you are when receiving IV fluids is one of the biggest factors in determining how long these fluids will stay in your body. If you are well-hydrated, IV fluids are going to pass more quickly throughout your bloodstream. This is because these fluids have less work to do to hydrate your body since it’s already relatively hydrated. If, however, your body is dehydrated, it will absorb all of the nutrients and fluids it is in critical need of absorbing. 

Metabolic Rates

Your metabolic rate is, simply put, how quickly your body processes different nutrients through your body's bloodstream.

Slow metabolic rates are often more prevalent in people with higher body weights or older adults. As you age, your metabolism slows, which would impact your body's uptake of fluids and nutrients if delivered intravenously. 

However, if you have a relatively high metabolism, your body will more quickly absorb IV fluids and their nutrients. Higher metabolisms are found in people who are more physically active, have lower body weights, or are younger. 

Presence of Illness

If you have certain illnesses, their presence may impact your body's ability to retain fluids. For example, if you take blood pressure medication, your body may process fluids differently. 

Additionally, suppose you are sick with a viral infection, such as the coronavirus or flu. In that case, your body might be experiencing dehydration due to the inability to keep fluids down, excessive urination, or passing of stool. If you are dehydrated, IV fluids may work more quickly and effectively to replenish lost nutrients than if you are healthy and hydrated. 

Can I Have Too Much IV Fluids?

The short answer is no. As your body processes IV fluids, whether slowly or more quickly, any excess fluids or nutrients will be passed through your urine. The fluids found in an IV are mostly a vehicle for carrying a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and electrolytes into your body. 

So, as stated before, depending on your hydration levels, metabolic rate, and overall health, your body will process these fluids at different speeds. 

Our Rescue IV therapy, for example, is packed with all the vitamins and nutrients that you might need to revive yourself after a long night out on the town, after a red-eye flight, or if you are experiencing a viral infection. 

The issue generally is not whether your body can handle a large amount of fluids and nutrients – as it will absorb what it needs and pass the rest, but more about if your body has too few fluids.

The Bottom Line

There is no one answer regarding how long IV fluids stay in the body. It depends on several factors, including your dehydration levels beforehand, body weight and composition, whether you’re sick or not, and how well your body responds to the intravenous fluids. 

In general, your body will retain IV fluids for a few hours – the factor that sets intravenous fluid therapy apart from consuming liquids orally is the amount of time it takes to hit your bloodstream and start hydrating you. 

In a matter of minutes, the liquids provided through intravenous therapy will be in your body and ready to be incorporated into your system that is likely dehydrated. 

Next time you feel sick, dehydrated, jet-lagged, or hungover, schedule an appointment with The I.V. Doc for our in-home, luxury intravenous therapies and services. Delivered to you in the comfort of your home, office, or hotel room, our team of licensed medical professionals is ready to provide you with IV therapy treatments.


Water: How much should you drink every day? | Mayo Clinic

Dehydration - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Hydrochlorothiazide | MedlinePlus Drug Information

« Back to Blog | The I.V. Doc Information on Dehydration, Jet Lag, Hangovers, Food Poisoning and Vitamin Drips

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