Polydipsia: Definition, Causes & Symptoms

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Pressure Ulcer: Definition, Stages & Treatment

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What is Polydipsia?
  • 0:45 Causes of Polydipsia
  • 1:23 Symptoms of Polydipsia
  • 1:38 Treatment Options
  • 2:37 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Polydipsia is another word for excessive thirst. Read on to find out what causes this extreme thirst, what the other symptoms may be, and how to treat it (besides drinking lots of water).

What is Polydipsia?

If you've ever had a hard workout session or spent all day in the sun, you know what it's like to feel really, really thirsty. But imagine feeling that way all the time. Polydipsia is excessive thirst that causes a person to drink extreme amounts of water. It is usually a side effect of another condition such as diabetes. In fact, it is often one of the first symptoms a patient with diabetes will experience, usually before they have even been diagnosed.

In addition to thirst, those suffering from polydipsia may also have dry mouth or a foul taste in their mouth. Excessive thirst even when you are (or should be) properly hydrated is cause for concern and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Causes of Polydipsia

In addition to diabetes (or conditions where a person has high blood sugar levels), other conditions cause polydipsia as well. Any activity or symptom that causes a loss of fluids or dehydration in the body can result in temporary polydipsia. This could include illness, diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss, excessive sweating, or side effects from medications. Some cases of polydipsia are caused by psychiatric disorders where the patient mysteriously feels the need to drink more water as if he or she is dehydrated, even if that isn't the case and they have no other physical medical conditions that would explain the thirst.

Symptoms of Polydipsia

There are two main symptoms of polydipsia. The first is having an unquenchable thirst that persists no matter how much water you drink. The second is excessive urination -- passing more than 5 liters in a 24-hour period.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account