Polydipsia is the term for excessive thirst. Polydipsia can happen as a result of high sugar levels and is therefore one of the symptoms of diabetes.

If you have diabetes and recurrent thirst, it could be a sign that your sugar levels are running too high.

Causes of polydipsia

Strong thirst, polydipsia, may be caused by factors such as:

When to see your doctor

If you have recurrent thirst that comes back despite drinking water, it is important to see your doctor as it could indicate a health problem.

Polydipsia in people with diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to test your sugar levels and, if your sugar levels are above 15 mmol/l, to test for ketones as well. Contact your health team if you have high ketone levels or you struggle to get your sugar levels back to normal.

If you have type 2 diabetes and have a blood glucose testing kit, it can help to test your sugar levels to see whether your sugar levels are regularly going too high. If you are struggling to keep your sugar levels under control or have regular thirst, it’s important to let your doctor know.

How diabetes can lead to polydipsia

When blood glucose levels are high, the body will try to pass glucose out of the blood through the urine and this will mean passing out more urine than normal. One consequence of this is that the body will need to take in more water to replace the water it’s passing out as urine and therefore we feel the signs of thirst.