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It’s normal to feel thirsty after eating spicy foods or performing strenuous exercise, especially when it’s hot. But sometimes your thirst is stronger than usual and continues after you drink. You may even experience blurred vision and fatigue. These are symptoms of excessive thirst, which may signal a serious underlying medical condition.
Causes may include:
Frequent excessive thirst or thirst that can’t be quenched can be symptoms of serious medical conditions, such as:
Thirst is your body’s way of telling you that it’s low on fluids. In normal circumstances, you should be able to quench your thirst fairly quickly. However, if your urge to drink remains constant, or does not go away after you drink, it may be a sign of a serious health problem, especially if combined with other symptoms. This constant urge to drink could also be a psychological problem.
You should consult with your doctor if:
To help diagnose the reason for your excessive, unresolved thirst, your doctor will ask you for a complete medical history, including any previously diagnosed conditions. Be prepared to list all of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Some questions your doctor may ask include:
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may order blood and urine tests to help provide a diagnosis. These tests may include:
Depending on the test results, your doctor may refer you to a specialist.
Treatment and outlook will depend on the diagnosis.
When you try to quench excessive thirst, it’s possible to drink too much fluid. Taking in more water than you expel is called overhydration. This can occur when you drink too much liquid to compensate for fluid loss. It can also occur if you have disorders in the kidney, liver, or heart.
Overhydration can cause a severely low blood sodium level that could result in confusion and seizures, especially if it develops quickly.
To remain healthy, you need to drink fluid regularly throughout the day. You can increase your water intake by eating water-rich foods, such as:
A good way to know if you’re getting enough fluids is to check your urine. If it’s light in color, high in volume, and does not have a heavy smell, you are probably getting enough fluid.
Every organ, tissue, and cell in your body needs water. Water helps your body to:
You need to take in extra fluids when you:
If you fail to replenish the fluids you lose and fail to respond to your thirst by drinking fluids, you can become dehydrated.
Written by: Ann Pietrangelo
Medically reviewed on: Nov 10, 2016: Stacy R. Sampson, DO
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