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The polydipsia is a clinical pathology, which often presents itself as the main symptom of diabetes . It is a condition characterized by the need to drink large amounts of water, constantly and persistently. Polydipsia is usually accompanied by the urge to urinate excessively.

What is polydipsia?

Polydipsia is the medical name for excessive increased thirst , which can lead patients to ingest amounts of water much higher than recommended. It is a relatively common disorder in diabetic people, with excessive thirst being one of the main and first symptoms of the disease.

Primary polydipsia

It is known as an alteration in the mechanisms that regulate thirst , despite the absence of any abnormal fluid loss. That is, people, even though they are well hydrated, have a constant need to drink.

Primary polydipsia can be classified in turn into three broad categories.

  • Dipsogenic primary polydipsia: occurs as a result of different disorders and problems, such as infections or trauma. The most common clinical picture is a sensation of excessive thirst.
  • Psychogenic primary polydipsia: in this case, patients compulsively consume water but deny the sensation of constant thirst. In some cases the amount of water consumed daily exceeds 10 liters. It is a relatively common disorder among people with psychiatric problems.
  • Gestational primary polydipsia : This is the least common type of polydipsia, although it does occur in some pregnant women. The cause is related to hormonal imbalances typical of the gestational stage.

Causes of polydipsia

Diabetes insipidus

The diabetes insipidus is a relatively common disease that causes an imbalance of water levels in the body, which leads to a feeling of constant and intense thirst. Patients are thirsty even after drinking water.

There is currently no cure for this disease. However, there are a number of treatments that help quench thirst , thus improving the quality of life of patients.

The symptoms that the vast majority of patients present are mainly two: a sensation of extreme thirst and an excessive amount of urine . Depending on the severity of the disorder, urine output can exceed 15 liters per day, the usual average amount being 3 liters per day.

Polydipsia Polyphagia and Polyuria

Many patients with diabetes insipidus suffer from sleep disorders as they need to get up frequently at night to urinate.

This disease can also occur in babies and children. In these cases, parents should pay special attention to the following signs: excessive agitation , irritability, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, and weight loss for no apparent reason.

One of the main complications of this disease is dehydration . The body of patients, despite the fact that they drink large amounts of water, is not able to retain enough fluid to ensure proper functioning of the organs. The main symptoms of dehydration are: excessive dryness of the mouth, hypotension, severe headache, weight loss, poor skin elasticity and arrhythmia.

Mellitus diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by the fact that blood sugar levels are higher than normal. The insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas , whose main function is to control the blood sugar. Well, the most common is that this disorder is caused by insufficient insulin production.

As for the symptoms of this disease, those that recur most frequently are: blurred vision , a feeling of excessive and constant thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, tiredness and weight loss for no apparent reason.

Other causes

Other probable causes of polydipsia are as follows.

  • Consumption of highly seasoned or salty foods . In this case, the feeling of thirst is excessive for a relatively long period of time.
  • Large-scale hemorrhage , so that the patient suffers a marked decrease in the volume of blood in his body.
  • Consumption of certain medications such as diuretics or phenothiazines.
  • Diseases of a serious nature such as sepsis , which cause the loss of body fluids from the blood to the tissues.
  • In some cases the disease has its origin in a mental disorder known as psychogenic polydipsia. People who have certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, may have continuous feelings of excessive thirst.
  • The zinc deficiency is another probable cause, although not too frequent. Zinc makes the body absorb fluids more efficiently, thus making the body able to retain more sodium.
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Symptoms of polydipsia

Regarding the symptoms, the most frequent are two. On the one hand, having a persistent thirst for no apparent reason, which is not quenched regardless of the amount of water consumed. And, on the other hand, urinate more than five liters a day.

It is important to see your doctor when you are thirsty all the time. In many cases, polydipsia is a sign of a certain disease, such as diabetes , that requires medical treatment. In this case, early intervention is key to avoid certain complications.

Diagnosis and treatment of polydipsia

Once the symptoms described in the previous section have been presented, it is important to see a doctor to establish the diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment. In the first place, he takes the medical history of the patient, paying attention to his health and the signs he presents. The main objective is to determine the hydration status of the patient.

If you suspect polydipsia, the doctor may request additional tests. The most common are blood and urine tests . The concentration of creatinine, glucose, sodium, potassium and calcium in plasma is measured . Regarding urine, the sodium concentration in urination is evaluated.

A high percentage of patients with excessive thirst have diabetes. Therefore, the doctor is responsible for defining the characteristics of this disorder and determining the treatment for it.

Complications of polydipsia

Polydipsia is characterized in that patients never feel satiated drinking water, which leads to consuming excessive amounts of this drink. A risky situation that can lead to hyperhydration .

When certain values ​​of consumed water are exceeded, a very high amount of sodium dissolves in the blood, which is known as hyponatremia . The most common signs of this disorder are: disorientation, migraine , nausea and vomiting. If patients do not receive adequate and timely treatment, there is a high risk of irreversible brain edema, and even death.

When water intoxication is diagnosed and treated early, practically 100% of patients recover completely and without any sequelae. However, in those with chronic polydipsia, damage to vital organs can occur.


Hyperhydration is a disease characterized by excessive consumption of water, so that there is a hyper-excess of this fluid in the body. This disorder occurs when a person consumes more water than he is capable of eliminating.

Under normal conditions, a person without any health problem can drink a maximum of 7 liters of water per day, at a rate of 1.5 liters per hour. When that amount is exceeded, there is excessive dissolution of sodium in the bloodstream, thus increasing the production of antidiuretic hormone .

A really dangerous situation, in which various health complications can arise : brain edema , coma, increased intracranial pressure, etc. It is the brain organ that is the main affected.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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