Polydipsia: What Is Considered Excessive Thirst?

What Is Polydipsia?

excessive thirst

Polydipsia is the medical term for excessive thirst. Excessive thirst is characterized as constant, ongoing thirst that is not resolved after drinking. Individuals with polydipsia feel that they cannot quench their thirst no matter how much or how often they drink and often drink excessive amount of liquid, which can lead to severe medical problems. Polydipsia can be an isolated condition, occurring only once due to certain lifestyle circumstances (eating something very spicy) or can be an ongoing problem due to an underlying condition.

Causes

  • Eating very salty or spicy foods
  • Dehydration
  • Extreme exercise
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Burns
  • Significant blood loss
  • Certain medications
    • Lithium
    • Diuretics
    • Anti-psychotics
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Sepsis
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Hepatitis
  • Autoimmune disorders

Types

Primary Psychogenic Polydipsia

This type of polydipsia refers to excessive thirst that results from a mental or emotional issue, such as stress, anxiety, or schizophrenia.

Non-Psychogenic Primary Polydipsia

This type of polydipsia refers to excessive thirst that results from an underlying medical conditions or lifestyle factor.

Symptoms

  • Extreme thirst
  • Urinating more than 5 liters per day
  • Persistent dry mouth
  • Feeling Abnormally Hungry
  • Having Blurry Vision
  • Exhaustion
  • Abnormal Weight Loss
  • Getting Frequent Sores Or Infections
  • Slow Healing of Sores Or Infections
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Seizures

excessive thirst

Diagnosis

Your primary care physician can diagnose polydipsia. They will likely order blood tests, urinalysis, and possibly diagnostic imaging to evaluate for underlying conditions. If your excessive thirst has reached the point of overhydration, it may be diagnosed by an emergency room physician.

Treatment

Treating polydipsia usually relies on treating the underlying cause. If the underlying cause is another medical condition, treating that condition will typically resolve the excessive thirst. If the polydipsia is caused by a mental or emotional issue, cognitive behavioral therapy can help to control the feeling or excessive thirst.

 

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