Have you been feeling the need to chug a ton of water all the time recently? Drinking water is, of course, great for health and essential for our body. But if you’re constantly parched, despite having 8-10 glasses of water every day, there may be a larger issue to blame.
The simplest explanation for feeling thirsty is not drinking enough water. We usually feel super thirsty after spending a long day under the sun or after a hard workout session. But endless thirst isn’t normal and shouldn't be ignored.
Health experts say that we should aim for half of our body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, a person who weighs 140 pounds (63.5 kg) should aim for about 70 oz (2,070 ml) or about 8-10 cups of water every day. If you find that your water intake is around this recommended mark and you still feel thirsty, watch out for any of these causes.
Dehydration means excessive loss of body water. It happens when your body loses more fluids than you take in. Therefore, you end up feeling overly thirsty. Dehydration can happen more easily if you have diarrhea, diabetes, heatstroke, or when you’ve sweat too much after exercising. It can also be caused by drinking too much alcohol. So, take note of your symptoms and make sure you drink enough fluids if you’ve been suddenly dehydrated.
2. Dry mouth (xerostomia)
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can often be mistaken for extreme thirst. It’s a condition where the salivary glands in your mouth don't make adequate saliva to keep your mouth wet. According to Mayo Clinic, xerostomia is usually caused by “certain medications or aging issues or as a result of radiation therapy for cancer.” Other causes include smoking tobacco or marijuana, stress, anxiety, or aging. When our glands don’t make enough saliva, we feel the need to drink more water. If the feeling of a dry mouth persists even after you consume water, then it’s better to visit your doctor to know more about the cause.
3. Eating way too much salt
Just like it’s important to keep our sugar intake in check, we must also keep an eye on the amount of salt we consume every day. Our kidneys process excess salt and redirect it into our urine. When we eat a sodium-heavy meal, our kidneys have to work extra hard to get rid of the salt. Thus, you end up peeing more than usual.
Overdoing it on sodium-heavy meals can also lead to high blood pressure over time and may cause kidney or heart damage as well. The FDA says that adults should limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day – that’s almost 1 teaspoon of table salt. So check and see if you are going over this limit and cut down on your salt intake if needed.
Diabetes can increase your risk of dehydration. When someone has diabetes, their body doesn’t make enough insulin, and this leads to too much sugar (or glucose) building up in your body. The glucose in urine pulls in more water, and hence, you are forced to pee more often than usual. This makes you experience extreme thirst, as your body wants to replace the fluids you’re losing. If you're experiencing excessive thirst along with excessive urination and blurred vision, you should consult your doctor because they are all signs of diabetes.
Anemia is a condition in which your body loses healthy red blood cells faster than they can be replaced. This leads to a deficiency of oxygen in various organs and tissues of the body. While mild anemia usually won’t cause excessive thirst, severe anemia might lead to uncontrolled thirst according to the US National Health, Lung and Blood Institute.
This condition is caused by underlying diseases, a poor diet, or heavy bleeding. If you suspect that you are anemic, get yourself checked by a professional.
6. Having too many diuretic foods
Diuretic foods and drinks can help you get rid of excess water and sodium from your body. They force the kidneys to excrete more sodium into the urine. As the sodium is flushed away, the body gets rid of water as well. Diuretics are usually prescribed when the body is retaining too many fluids. But overdosing on them will make you thirsty because they deplete the fluids in the body, causing an imbalance.
Some fruits and vegetables that act as natural diuretics include:
- Pumpkin seeds
Commonly consumed diuretic beverages include coffee, tea, and lemon verbena, among others.
So, if you are having too many diuretic foods daily, it may trigger excessive thirst. Cut down on them a little to maintain a healthy balance.
7. Low-carb diets
Following a low-carb diet may be working wonders for your health, but it is likely to cause dry mouth and frequent thirst. That happens because carbs hold on to more water than proteins or fats. When you stop eating carbs, all the extra fluids get released through urination. Since your body is excreting more water, it causes a spike in your thirst levels. Thus, make it a point to drink enough water when you are following a low-carb diet.
Hypercalcemia is a condition where the calcium level in your blood is above normal. Extra calcium in the body makes the kidneys work harder to filter it. This can make a person urinate more often, leading to increased thirst and even dehydration. Hypercalcemia can also cause stomach upsets, nausea, vomiting, bone pain, and constipation.
9. Chronic stress and anxiety
Chronic stress and anxiety may cause you to sweat, thus leading to serious thirst. Anxiety can cause dry mouth, and dry mouth can feel like thirst. Hence, your brain might be fooled into believing that you need to drink water even though you aren’t really thirsty. Also, chronic stress messes with your adrenal glands and can result in low blood pressure. This can then give rise to dizziness, anxiety, and extreme thirst, say health professionals. Thus, in case you have been unduly stressed about something, work towards managing it better.
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