Polydipsia: Unquenchable Thirst

Polydipsia: Unquenchable Thirst
Polydipsia: Unquenchable Thirst

Video: Polydipsia: Unquenchable Thirst

Video: Polydipsia: Unquenchable Thirst
Video: Top 3 Causes Of Excessive Thirst (Polydipsia) You Might Not Know 2023, June

When the drinking regimen is disturbed Thirst as a symptom: nervous diseases, diabetes, Connes syndrome Diagnosis Treatment of polydipsia

Could intense thirst be a disease? MedAboutMe knows for sure: it can. This phenomenon is called polydipsia and is worth learning more about.

When the drinking regime is violated

Water is necessary for the normal course of metabolic processes in the body. It is constantly excreted by breathing, goes away with sweat, tears, urine and feces, and therefore we get thirsty from time to time. A normal drinking regimen assumes that a relatively healthy adult should drink about 2 liters of water per day.

A special part of the brain is responsible for the onset of the feeling of thirst: the center of thirst. The excitement of this center causes the desire to drink water, tea, juice or any other liquid that can compensate for the lack of water in the body. Center activation can occur for various reasons, including pathological processes in the brain. But most often, excitement occurs due to the fact that special receptors send a signal to the brain that the composition of the blood has changed and it would be necessary to correct it by adding water.

The reason may be physiological: profuse sweating during physical activity in a room with hot air, for example. Or dehydration caused by diarrhea. Or the abuse of spicy and salty foods. Or the state of a hangover - "dry", as the people say. If you drink a certain amount of water, the water-salt balance will be normalized and the thirst will subside.

Normal thirst differs from polydipsia in that it is easy enough to satisfy. With polydipsia, thirst is not quenched, even if the person drinks a lot of fluids, or the thirst quickly returns. If a person normally drinks from one and a half to three liters of water per day, then with polydipsia, the patient can drink 15 liters, and 20, and even more.

Thirst as a symptom: nervous diseases, diabetes, Connes syndrome

Excessive thirst can appear in some diseases that cause organic damage to the central nervous system (CNS). For example, if the functions of the hypothalamus are dysfunctional, which is responsible for many important processes, including maintaining homeostasis, regulating body temperature, blood vessel tone, and even behavior. If the center of thirst located in the brain is activated directly, polydipsia is called psychogenic and primary.

Secondary, or neurogenic, polydipsia can be a symptom of diseases that cause pathological changes in the composition of the blood. For example, with diabetes mellitus, when the level of glucose in the blood rises significantly. Or with an increase in the concentration of sodium chloride, which is observed with hyperfunction of the adrenal glands (Conn's syndrome).

If you leave unquenchable thirst unattended, over time it can cause serious disorders: dropsy (ascites), severe edema, convulsions. The increased load on the kidneys also does not go unnoticed. But the main danger is not polydipsia itself, but those diseases that it accompanies.


If you notice that one of your loved ones began to drink a lot, constantly suffers from thirst, advise him to see a doctor for examination and identify the causes of polydipsia. They can be very serious and frivolous about constant lust is inappropriate.

The doctor will order blood tests:

on the content of sugar and sodium chloride; on hormones produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus.

In addition, the amount of urine excreted per day is measured, and a study of renal function is mandatory. For differential diagnosis, the Carter-Robbins test is performed, in which the patient is injected with a sodium chloride solution. If the amount of urine excreted does not decrease, then we can talk about the presence of diabetes insipidus. If it decreases, polydipsia may be of a primary nature, that is, it may be psychogenic.

Polydipsia treatment

Since unquenchable thirst is the result of various disorders, the main efforts are directed to the treatment of underlying diseases. It is not worth limiting the patient to drinking: polydipsia will pass when the causes of its occurrence are eliminated or neutralized.

With diabetes insipidus, the patient is prescribed a course of analogs of the hormone vasopressin, diuretics from the thiazide group, etc. Therapy for diabetes mellitus includes dietary nutrition, insulin injections for type I diabetes and taking drugs that lower sugar levels in type II diabetes.

Conn's syndrome requires adherence to a diet that restricts the use of table salt, treatment with potassium preparations, taking diuretics, and in some cases, removal of one or both of the adrenal glands is indicated.

Psychogenic polydipsia is also amenable to drug correction.

It is very important to see a doctor in a timely manner and not waste time on alternative medicine. All diseases that cause indomitable thirst are dangerous enough, and their treatment requires constant medication.

Expert Commentary Victor Marchione MD, New Jersey, USA

Polydipsia should not be regarded as an independent disease; rather, it is a symptom of other diseases. Often, though not always, excessive thirst is one of the first symptoms of diabetes.

An increase in glucose levels causes the kidneys to work harder: they try to remove excess sugar by producing more urine. But this only leads to dehydration of cells and increased thirst. No matter how much a diabetic drinks, the moisture he has drunk will be excreted by the kidneys, and the cells will continue to experience a lack of water.

But diabetes is not the only cause of morbid thirst. Polydipsia can be a consequence of adrenal dysfunction, it manifests itself in some mental disorders. Thirst can occur during pregnancy or with burns that affect a large area of the body.

You can decide for yourself whether to go to the doctor. It is worth getting tested if you drink more than 100 ml of water per kilogram of your weight per day, if your daily urine volume exceeds 5 liters, and this is observed for several days.

If you know that you have diabetes and are experiencing increasing thirst, this may indicate an exacerbation of the disease.

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