If you sweat excessively during a workout, you can become dehydrated. According to MayoClinic.com, one of the symptoms of dehydration is thick, stringy saliva, which can form a white, sticky substance around your mouth. Another cause is a condition known as dry mouth.
You may think that feeling thirsty is the best indicator of dehydration, but that's not necessarily the case, reports MayoClinic.com. A better test is how often you need to urinate and the color of your urine. If it is dark yellow and you only need to go about every eight hours, it's likely you are dehydrated, even if you're not thirsty. Other symptoms may include dry, white clumps of saliva forming on your lips, cracked or chapped lips, headaches, constipation and lightheadedness. In extreme cases, you may have a fever, rapid heart beat and breathing, sunken eyes, and lack of skin elasticity. See a doctor immediately if you have any of these extreme symptoms.
Exercise and Dehydration
It's not unusual to become mildly dehydrated during exercise because you naturally lose water through sweating, particularly if you do an intense workout or it is hot, reports MayoClinic.com. Dehydration during exercise causes your heart rate and body temperature to increase, lactic acid to build up in your muscles, and your muscle strength to decrease, says Mark Kovacs M.Ed, CSCS, USATF II (Sprints), on the Health Fitness website. Apart from feeling thirsty, a dry mouth is one of the first signs of dehydration during a workout.
Treating Dehydration Caused By Exercise
You should replace fluids at regular intervals throughout an exercise session and ensure your system is hydrated before you start. Water is highly effective at replacing fluid lost through perspiration, but it doesn't contain the vital nutrients, such as potassium, calcium and sodium, that are also depleted when you sweat. To ensure these are replaced as well, Kovacs suggests taking a supplement containing these minerals before you do any strenuous activity and drinking electrolyte sports drink during and after your workout. Another way you can prevent dehydration and the associated sticky saliva when you exercise is avoiding caffeine and alcohol, both of which increase your need to urinate, meaning you lose more body fluid.
One of the most common symptoms of dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is sticky saliva, reports the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands don't produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist and protect it from bacteria. It is usually caused by a reaction to certain medications, such as those used for depression and high blood pressure, health conditions including diabetes and HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy and nerve damage in your head or neck. Breathing through your mouth can also exacerbate the problem, says MayoClinic.com. As this is something you tend to do when exercising, you may find that if you suffer from dry mouth, your symptoms are worse during a workout. This includes the dry, thick saliva that can form in the corners of your mouth.