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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Excessive Thirst

Excessive Thirst

Alternate Names : Polydipsia

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Excessive thirst is an abnormally strong desire to drink liquids. It can related to an underlying medical condition.

What is going on in the body?

Increased thirst is not considered excessive when it is related to a recent lack of drinking fluids. Also, people who have always had a strong desire to drink a lot of fluids are not considered to have excessive thirst. There are many potential causes for this condition.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

There are many possible causes for excessive thirst. These include:

  • increased exercise, which can increase the body's water requirements
  • dehydration. This occur from any of a number of causes including diarrhea, infection, hot weather, vomiting, or the use of medications called diuretics that eliminate fluid from the body.
  • hormone imbalances. These may include a high level of thyroid hormone, a condition called hyperthyroidism, or a high level of adrenal hormones, called hyperadrenalism.
  • hypernatremia, which is a high level of sodium in the body
  • uncontrolled diabetes. This is a condition that causes an increase in blood sugar levels, triggering excessive thirst.
  • diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is a disease that causes people to urinate excessively and results in dehydration.
  • certain drugs or medications. The use of antihistamines, marijuana, caffeine, or alcohol can cause this condition.
  • psychogenic polydipsia, which is a psychiatric condition that causes a person to feel thirsty for no apparent reason
  • damage to an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. This is rare.
  • Other causes are also possible. Sometimes, no cause can be found.


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    Excessive Thirst: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 06/07/01

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