Why Am I So Thirsty All of a Sudden? How Dehydration Relates
You may wonder “Why am I so thirsty all of a sudden?” and then reach for a glass of water.
Feeling thirsty all of a sudden may result from eating salty or spicy foods and engaging in physical activities outdoors for a long time. However, it can also indicate certain medical conditions and chronic health problems.
In this article, you’ll learn the science behind thirst and the possible reasons why you’re suddenly thirsty.
A Quick Look at How Thirst Works
Thirst happens when your body doesn’t get enough fluids and electrolytes.
You suddenly get the urge to drink something while you have a dry mouth, parched lips, and sometimes, an itch at the back of your throat.
So what makes you thirsty?
Here’s the science behind it: As your body uses fluids, the electrolyte levels in your body can remain constant. As a result, their relative concentration in your bodily fluids can increase (this is called osmolality).
An increase of as little as 1% in your blood osmolality can trigger thirst. Once your body notices the change in blood osmolality, signals are sent to your brain telling you to drink more fluids to restore balance. Meanwhile, your brain sends signals to other parts of your body, such as your mouth, circulatory system, and kidneys.
As a result, you don’t have enough saliva, and you have reduced urine and low blood pressure as your body tries to preserve bodily fluids and counteract fluid loss.
While fluids that transport nutrients dwindle in the body, you may also experience fatigue and muscle cramps. Drinking water may not be enough to counteract these changes in your body. Your body needs the perfect balance of electrolytes like sodium and glucose to help absorption.
Why Am I So Thirsty All of a Sudden? Possible Reasons
Feeling thirsty suddenly, especially if it’s been happening for a while, can be caused by dehydration, certain underlying conditions like diabetes and anemia, and medication side effects.
Living in areas with hot weather or frequent consumption of spicy and salty foods are also worth considering. Let’s dive into the common reasons for sudden, excessive thirst below:
Dehydration is a common reason behind sudden, excessive thirst. It happens when your body doesn’t have enough water and electrolytes to keep it working right.
You can get dehydrated and lose electrolytes due to:
Sweating heavily and not drinking enough fluids
Fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea
Overheating as a result of rigorous physical activity in hot, humid weather conditions
Thirst is a common symptom of dehydration. It’s your body’s way of telling you to get more fluids and electrolytes. Other signs and symptoms include lightheadedness, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, and a rapid heart rate.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration can result in serious complications when not addressed right away. These include heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, kidney disease, seizures, and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
When you’re in a state of dehydration, water alone is not enough. You need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes into your bloodstream rapidly — and IV therapy may not be practical.
Causes Relating to Medical Conditions
If you're suddenly thirsty all the time, it could be a sign of certain medical conditions like diabetes, and anemia.
1. Diabetes Mellitus
Feeling thirsty all of a sudden can be a sign of diabetes, especially if your excessive thirst is accompanied by frequent urination and unexplained weight loss.
When you have diabetes, the unusually high levels of glucose in the body can make your kidney work harder as a way to clear out excess glucose. As a result, you'll feel thirsty all the time because your brain wants you to drink more due to increased urination.
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you're regularly experiencing extreme thirst accompanied by diabetes symptoms.
2. Diabetes Insipidus
Another potential cause of sudden, unexplained thirst is diabetes insipidus, and this condition has nothing to do with blood glucose levels.
Diabetes insipidus happens when your body has trouble maintaining fluid balance. Specifically, the kidneys pass an unusually large volume of dilute, odorless urine. As a result, you’ll likely feel thirsty.
While there’s no cure for diabetes insipidus, it’s important to speak to a doctor to help relieve symptoms and avoid complications. For one, dehydration is a serious complication of this condition.
3. Sudden Blood Loss or Ongoing Bleeding
Ongoing or sudden blood loss from acute injuries, heavy periods, or bleeding ulcers can result in fluid loss. Your body, in turn, will make up for this with feelings of sudden thirst.
Another related cause is anemia. In this condition, your red blood cell numbers are below normal, leading to low blood and fluid volume in the body. Your body attempts to trigger thirst as a way to increase fluid volume.
4. Side Effects of Certain Medications
Medications like lithium, certain antipsychotic drugs, and diuretics can induce thirst.
If you think that one of your medications is causing you to feel thirsty all of a sudden, seek medical advice.
Less Common Causes of Sudden Thirst
Other less common causes of feeling thirsty all of a sudden include the following:
Natural diuretic foods like watermelon
Dry or humid air
Psychogenic polydipsia in people with schizophrenia
If the urge to drink constantly pops up and does not go away after consuming fluids and electrolytes, seek medical help right away.
Crush Dehydration With DripDrop
If you wonder "why am I always thirsty" and discover that dehydration is the culprit, reach for DripDrop. It was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration.
The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization's oral rehydration solution (ORS) standards because of its low osmolarity (fast absorbing formula), and delicious taste—giving you a medically viable ORS that also tastes great.
It's also important to drink a rehydration solution like DripDrop when you're feeling unwell, especially if you're experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Do the same when you're working or hiking long hours outdoors. The convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop when you need it, where you need it.