Common health issue

What causes excessive thirst? Causes, risk and treatment

It is natural to feel thirsty during a hot day or after performing some sort of physical activity. Sometimes, eating spicy foods can also cause you to be thirsty. These instances are all normal. However, have you ever felt the need to drink large amounts of water? Have you had times when you drank many glasses of water and still kept feeling thirsty? If yes, then let you help you understand what may have caused this excessive thirst.


Put simply, if you’re thirsty, that means you’re wasting more water than you’re consuming. It may be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, or drinking inadequate amounts of water. Dehydration will also make you feel dizzy and lightheaded, as well as cause your urine to turn dark yellow.

Renal Failure

Excessive thirst might be a symptom that you have progressive kidney failure and are approaching end-stage kidney disease. You might feel thirsty as well as unwell. Itchy, dry eyes, fever, fatigue, and a significant decrease in appetite, are also possible symptoms. It’s possible that you’ll lose weight as well.

Dry Mouth

Sometimes, when the salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva to adequately moisten your mouth, you get dry mouth. Your oral cavity, tongue, and throat can become sticky and dry as a result of this. It can also cause chapped lips and swallowing difficulties. Thirst can be either a source as well as a consequence of dry mouth.

Diabetes Mellitus

Excess sugar in the blood is one of the most frequent sources of extreme thirst. When there is a high sugar content in your blood, your kidneys are overworked from absorbing sugar all that sugar. Eventually the glucose passes into your urine, carrying fluids from your tissues along with it. This happens due to the process of osmosis. This causes you to pee more and dehydrates your body, leaving you thirsty. Thirst is one of the earliest and commonest symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes Insipidus

Unlike diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus is not related to blood sugar. Rather is a disorder where there is a shortage of antidiuretic hormone in your body. This hormone is responsible for reabsorption of water from the collecting duct in your kidneys. So, a shortage of this hormone can cause dehydration and result in excessive thirst.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary condition caused by a gene mutation which leads to production of excessively stick mucus in your gastrointestinal tract. It has the potential to damage not just your respiratory system, but also your gastrointestinal tract. Excessive appetite is one of its symptoms. Constipation, inability to gain weight, big, fatty bowel movements, and slow growth are some of the other signs.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder. It’s characterized by dry mouth, skin, and other parts of the body. You’re likely to experience knee pain and exhaustion in addition to this dry sensation.


Anemia occurs because the body does not produce sufficient red blood cells(RBC). This may occur when because too many RBCs are killed or damaged, or when the body does not have adequate resources to produce them in sufficient amounts. Excessive hunger is a symptom, as are dizziness or faintness, a fast heartbeat, and muscle cramps.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition that affects the adrenal glands. It occurs when the hormone cortisol is overproduced in the body. It’s possible that feeling thirsty is a symptom of it. Some signs and effects include a round forehead, a fatty bump between the shoulders, purple lines on your skin, and weight gain.


When you’re pregnant, your body’s blood volume increases, which causes you to go to the toilet more often. Dehydration can occur as a result of this. Your hunger may be a warning that you need to drink more water when pregnant. That may even be a symptom of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can sometimes be fatal so consult with the doctor to make sure your blood sugar is under control.


Tobacco use will reduce the amount of saliva the body produces. This will result in a dry mouth and a thirsty feeling. Smoking causes the saliva to thicken and become less moist in your mouth.

Side-effects of medications

Excessive thirst can sometimes be a side effect of medications such as lithium, anti-psychotics, antidepressants, alpha agonists and anti-cholinergics.

What to do?

If you think that your excessive thirst has been caused by some of the reasons above or due to reasons you still have not been able to figure out, the best step to take would be to talk to your healthcare provider. This is important because excessive thirst can be a warning symptom of various diseases and it is best not to ignore it.

For diagnosis, your doctor may ask you questions such as:

  • When did you first notice the symptoms?
  • If you think you’ve gained and lost weight?
  • Have you made any food or lifestyle adjustments?
  • Have you been sick with a fever?
  • Are you urinating more often than usual?
  • Have you been sweating profusely?
  • Did the signs appear gradually or all of a sudden?
  • Have you noticed a change in your appetite?
  • Have you seen a previous accident or burn?
  • Is there any bleeding going on?

You may also be required to do some tests such as:

  • Serum electrolyte levels
  • Urine analysis
  • Complete and differential blood count
  • Blood glucose levels

Some other tips that may help keep your thirst at bay include:

  • Do not drink sugary food, sodas
  • Drink water
  • Eat foods with high water content such as- watermelons, cucumbers, celery and strawberries