What Is Polydipsia? The feeling of severe thirst that persists despite consuming large amounts of water in an effort to slake it is known medically as polydipsia. If you have polydipsia, you could also notice that you urinate more frequently than usual (polyuria) and that your urine is clear.
While excessive thirst can be a symptom of a number of medical disorders, it can also be your body’s natural response to a fluid imbalance, such as one caused by sweating excessively in hot weather or being dehydrated due to illness. One of the most typical signs of diabetes is polydipsia, which is also somewhat common in patients with certain mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.
Polydipsia carries hazards, thus it’s important to identify it and address the underlying cause.
5 Causes of Polydipsia
You may occasionally require extra water depending on your diet, physical activity, and climate. However, your thirst may be abnormal if you always feel too thirsty and frequently feel the need to drink a lot of water as a result.
There are a number of mental and secondary physical conditions that can induce polydipsia, as well as a number of other causes.
When there is no physical condition causing your excessive thirst, you have primary polydipsia. Psychogenic polydipsia and dipsogenic polydipsia are the two main subtypes of primary polydipsia.
Psychogenic polydipsia is a behavioral problem that coexists with several mental health problems such schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Psychogenic polydipsia is thought to affect up to 20% of patients with psychiatric conditions.
There is no physiological need to drink water, but those who suffer from psychogenic polydipsia experience a strong impulse to do so. Researchers don’t fully understand why it occurs, but some treatments can make things worse.
Dipsogenic polydipsia, often known as compulsive water consumption, is linked to a brain abnormality that happens when the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that regulates thirst, is changed.
People can develop dipsogenic polydipsia when they feel drinking a lot of water is beneficial for their health. Then, out of obsessive behavior, they overindulge in water.1
In secondary polydipsia, excessive water consumption is a result of a condition or medicine. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus are the most typical causes of secondary polydipsia. Additionally, if you are dehydrated, pregnant, or on certain drugs, you could develop secondary polydipsia.
Type 2 diabetes and other illnesses in the diabetes mellitus family are characterized by hyperglycemia, or elevated glucose levels. With hyperglycemia, you might also develop polydipsia and more frequent urination. Weight loss, blurred eyesight, and polyphagia (increased hunger) are some other signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia.
When you have diabetes mellitus, your blood begins to accumulate too much glucose, which leads to polydipsia. Your kidneys work overtime to remove the extra glucose when a buildup occurs, dehydrating your body as they do so. Your body is losing fluids through frequent urine, which signals your brain to increase your water intake to make up for the lost fluids.
Diabetes insipidus is unrelated to your blood glucose levels, unlike diabetes mellitus. Instead, poor kidney function is linked to diabetic insipidus. The uncommon ailment can arise when there are issues with vasopressin, a hormone that aids your kidneys in maintaining a healthy level of bodily fluid. Diabetes insipidus causes excessive urination. Eventually, polydipsia is brought on by that increase in urination.
Pregnant women may get a brief episode of diabetes insipidus. Although it is uncommon, when it does happen, the issue typically starts to manifest in the third trimester.
Polydipsia Caused by Medicine
Some drugs have the potential to cause polydipsia. These consist of:
- Anticholinergics, which can be used to treat psychiatric disorders, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and urinary dysfunction10 diuretics that aid in your body’s
- Elimination of excess salt and water
- Psychiatric problems are treated with phenothiazines.
It can be useful to know how to distinguish between the two when trying to figure out if you have normal thirst or excessive thirst caused by polydipsia. When you experience an abnormal urge to drink water or other liquids that lingers even after you’ve had plenty to drink, you’re said to be excessively thirsty. Normal thirst, which might be brought on by exercise, illness, or dehydration, typically goes away once you have replaced the lost fluids.
By examining the quantity and color of your urine, you can distinguish between excessive thirst and regular thirst. In contrast to the average human output of 1.5 liters of urine per day, people with polydipsia may urinate as much as 12 liters of water each day. The presence of polydipsia is typically indicated by this high production.
The color of your urine may also change, which you may also notice. Urine from those who are dehydrated is usually darker in hue. They might not urinate as frequently as usual. In the meanwhile, if you have polydipsia, your urine may be clear in color and diluted from the excessive fluid intake.
Due to their potential connection to the underlying cause, additional signs and symptoms that can occur together with polydipsia include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
How is Polydipsia Treated?
The underlying illness causing polydipsia has a significant impact on the course of treatment. Your doctor may order various diagnostic procedures, such as a urinalysis and blood tests, if you do not know what is causing your excessive thirst.
If it is determined that diabetes mellitus is the root of your polydipsia, you will probably be asked to undertake dietary and exercise adjustments. Additionally, your doctor can recommend drugs to help you manage your blood sugar. Depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the medicine will be different. For instance, metformin is frequently used to treat type 2 diabetes while insulin is frequently used to treat type 1 diabetes.
Desmopressin, a synthetic hormone, may be administered for diabetes insipidus. This drug, which can be taken as a tablet, an injection, or a nasal spray, supplements the vasopressin your body isn’t producing.
Your healthcare provider may advise you to see a counselor or therapist if a mental health condition is the root of your polydipsia so you can receive any necessary therapy, such as taking medication to manage your disease or learning to control your need to drink excessive amounts of water.
Polydipsia can lead to certain issues and health hazards because fluid balance in your body is a tightly controlled process that can affect your kidneys, blood pressure, heart rate, and more.
Water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, is a side effect of polydipsia. When your water intake exceeds your kidneys’ capacity to excrete the fluids, hyponatremia sets up.16 Despite being uncommon, this illness has the potential to be fatal and can lead to coma, death, delirium, nauseousness, headaches, confusion, and seizures.
Incontinence and enuresis, which is involuntary urination that can occur during the day or as bedwetting at night, may also be risks if you have psychogenic polydipsia. Along with osteoporosis and pathologic fractures, there is also a risk of renal and congestive heart failure in more severe cases.
When to See a Healthcare Provider
Drinking water can help you feel better if you feel extremely thirsty after engaging in vigorous exercise, consuming salty foods, or perspiring a lot. However, you might wish to contact a doctor if your thirst continues despite their being no apparent cause.
This is crucial if your thirst is extreme and won’t go away no matter how much liquid you consume. If you are urinating a lot, you should also pay attention. It may be necessary to diagnose and treat the underlying illness that is causing these symptoms.
Along with your extreme thirst, you should visit a doctor if you also have additional symptoms including weariness or blurred vision.
Hyperthirst is referred to as polydipsia. Polydipsia is also accompanied by a large intake of water due to your thirst. Polydipsia may be brought on by a physical illness like diabetes or a mental illness like schizophrenia. The underlying issue must be identified and treated because drinking too much liquids to quench your thirst might have significant dangers and adverse effects.
FAQs on What Is Polydipsia
What are potential problems with polydipsia?
Complications from primary polydipsia result from hyponatremia. Symptoms or presentations include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, tremors, dizziness, ataxia, confusion, lethargy, and, most commonly, seizures.
What is polydipsia associated with?
Polydipsia is a medical name for the feeling of extreme thirstiness. Polydipsia is often linked to urinary conditions that cause you to urinate a lot. This can make your body feel a constant need to replace the fluids lost in urination. It can also be caused by physical processes that cause you to lose a lot of fluid.
How long does polydipsia last?
Polydipsia can last for multiple days, weeks, even months! The duration will depend on its cause. Feeling like you have a dry mouth even after drinking an adequate amount of water is often one of the leading symptoms of polydipsia.
Which deficiency is responsible for the polydipsia?
ADH(antiduretic hormone) causes polyuria(excessive urine volume)and polydipsia (increase thirst). The deficiency of ADH causes excessive secretion of urine due to lack of reabsorption at distal convoluted tubule and collecting duct and result in excess thirst.