Ask a doc: ‘Why am I always thirsty — and what should I do about it?'

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If you’re always thirsty even though you try your best to drink water and stay hydrated, there may be health-related reasons.

Beyond impacting your quality of life, excessive thirst can be a symptom of some medical conditions.

Fox News Digital checked in with two doctors to flesh out the common causes behind constant water cravings.

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Here’s a deep dive.

What causes excessive thirst?

While there are many reasons a person may be feeling more thirsty than usual, there are some common culprits.

Beyond impacting your quality of life, excessive thirst can be a symptom of some medical conditions. (iStock)

Those include dehydration, metabolic disorders such as diabetes or high blood calcium levels, medication side effects and a problem with the pituitary gland or kidneys called diabetes insipidus, which can lead to increased thirst. 

Atil Kargi, M.D., a clinical endocrinologist in the department of neurosurgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, broke down those causes in a conversation with Fox News Digital.

Dehydration

Dehydration can occur due to excessive sweating, diarrhea or vomiting, according to Kargi.

Alcohol and caffeine can also have diuretic effects that lead to dehydration.

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Eating a high-salt diet or spicy foods may also increase thirst, the doctor noted.

High blood sugar

Diabetes or high blood calcium levels can lead to increased urine production and dehydration.

This triggers thirst — which is the body’s first-line defense mechanism against dehydration, said Kargi.

Side effects of pharmaceuticals

Some medications can cause increased thirst.

Woman drinking in bed

Dehydration, metabolic disorders such as diabetes or high blood calcium levels and medication side effects can lead to excessive thirst. (iStock)

“In some cases, this can simply be because of dry mouth, which can be observed in those persons taking medications to treat depression or other conditions,” the doctor said. 

Other medications, such as lithium or diuretics, can cause increased urine production and therefore indirectly increase thirst sensation, Kargi added.

Diabetes insipidus

With this condition, the pituitary gland and kidneys fail to work together to keep water in the body. 

“Normally, our pituitary glands produce a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (AVP) that sends a signal to our kidneys that regulates how much urine we produce,” Kargi said. 

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“AVP deficiency or certain kidney disorders can lead to increased water loss via urination, which triggers our thirst mechanism in an effort to prevent dehydration.”

People with diabetes insipidus do not have increased blood sugar levels, said Kargi. 

“This condition should not be confused with the much more common form of diabetes, which refers to those persons having high blood sugar levels.”

Some autoimmune disorders

Certain autoimmune disorders can also lead to excessive thirst and dryness, said Marie-Elizabeth Ramas, M.D., a family physician at Southern New Hampshire Health in Nashua, New Hampshire. 

Woman drinking water

Certain autoimmune disorders can also lead to excessive thirst and dryness, a doctor said.  (iStock)

“Diseases like cystic fibrosis, Sjogren’s syndrome and other hormonal-related autoimmune disorders can lead to excessive thirst,” she told Fox News Digital.

Lifestyle changes to reduce excessive thirst

If high salt intake or spicy foods seem to be worsening the sense of thirst, dietary changes may help, experts said. 

“Drinking water rather than other liquids, such as energy drinks or caffeinated beverages, can help, too,” Kargi suggested.

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In the absence of severe disorders and pathologies, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to improve overall well-being, Ramas said. 

“I recommend that my patients drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water a day,” she said. “Just taking 10 gulps of water every hour can help with improving energy, urination, bloating, skin and hair health.”

When to see a doctor

If people notice they’re producing large amounts of urine and urinating more frequently, this may be a reason to discuss symptoms with a doctor, Kargi told Fox News Digital. 

If increased thirst occurs along with other worrisome symptoms — such as excessive fatigue, weakness or weight loss — this may signal a doctor to check laboratory tests to rule out more serious medical conditions, he added.

health test

If increased thirst occurs along with other symptoms — such as excessive fatigue, weakness or weight loss — it is recommended to see a doctor for an exam and laboratory tests. (iStock)

In most cases of increased thirst, doctors can arrive at a diagnosis and treatment plan with a detailed exam and simple laboratory tests, Kargi said. 

Not all patients who report increased thirst have an underlying medical condition.

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“We sometimes encounter cases in which psychological factors leading to a sensation of dry mouth may be causing excessive thirst sensation without any other clear reason,” the doctor said.

This condition, called “psychogenic polydipsia,” can be diagnosed with a water deprivation test, Kargi said.

A man pours cold water into a glass.

In the absence of severe disorders and pathologies, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to improve overall well-being, a doctor said. (iStock)

When treating his own patients who complain of increased thirst, the doctor starts by gathering a complete history, focusing on diet and lifestyle, then asks about any other symptoms. 

“If you are a patient who’s seeing a doctor for a complaint of increased thirst, please tell your doctor about any other medical conditions you may have and any medications you are taking,” he advised. 

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“If the cause is not apparent from the initial history and exam, we may need to investigate further with blood and urine tests.”

High blood sugar or high blood calcium levels may require an endocrinologist for evaluation and treatment, Kargi noted.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.



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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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