Why Am I So Thirsty?

Natalie Stein
December 16, 2020
Why Am I So Thirsty?

Thirst is your body’s way of telling you to drink more fluids. Normal thirst is a healthy reminder to get you to stay hydrated, but a sudden increase thirst, or excessive thirst, can be a sign that something is wrong.

Water is essential, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests you should consume at least 2,200mL of water per day (75 oz, about 4.5 plastic bottles of water).

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These are some reasons why excessive thirst can occur. If it happens to you, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider about possible reasons and what you can do about them.

What is excessive thirst?

Excessive thirst is defined by Medical News Today as feeling thirsty most of the time that can last for hours, days, weeks or even longer. The official medical term is polydipsia. You can also have the symptom of dry mouth.

1. Dehydration 

Thirst may be your body’s simple signal that you are getting dehydrated. A good rule of thumb is to get at least 8, 8-ounce glasses of water or other hydrating beverages daily, plus more if it is hot out or you exercise hard.

Tracking your intake, keeping a full bottle of water near you all day, and setting reminders on your phone can help you drink more.

2. Increased physical activity

Increasing physical activity can help with weight control and lower risk for prediabetes, diabetes, and hypertension, but getting your sweat on means you lose more water.

Getting enough to drink before, during, and after a sweat session can help reduce thirst as well as reduce muscle soreness. Water is usually okay; sports drinks are only needed for very long, intense workouts, such as running for over 90 minutes.

3. Too much salt

Eating salty foods can lead to increased water consumption. Whether that is due to biological thirst or because salt makes liquids taste better is uncertain, but it may be worth looking into your sodium intake if you have excessive thirst.

Highly processed foods, such as frozen and canned meals and soups, condiments and sauces, pickles, processed meats, many snack foods, and bread are a few high-sodium foods to check for.

4. Medications

Many common medications cause dry mouth as a possible side effect. They include some blood pressure-lowering medications, antihistamines, antipsychotics, narcotics, medications for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and antidepressants. If you are concerned about your medications, talk to your healthcare provider.

5. Tobacco use

Tobacco products can cause dry mouth and increased thirst. Aside from quitting as the healthiest option, drinking more fluids can help relieve symptoms.

6. Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition with high levels of blood sugar. Your body tries to get rid of some of the extra sugar by eliminating it as waste in the urine according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A sign of diabetes is frequent urination, and those extra trips to the restroom can lead to increased thirst to replace fluids.

If you do suspect you may have diabetes or prediabetes, it is best to ask your doctor so you can start to manage it as soon as possible.

Free Health Kit to Lower Your Risk of Diabetes

Weight 140lbs
Height 64
low Risk

Many conditions can cause an increase in thirst, so it is important to work with your doctor to figure what may be causing your thirst. While the answer could be as simple as drinking more water, it could require treatment for a condition such as diabetes.

Lark for Diabetes can help you manage blood sugar and medications, which could also help keep thirst in check.

Written by Natalie Stein on December 16, 2020
Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health
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