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Why Am I Always Thirsty?

Why Am I Always Thirsty?

Q: I am constantly thirsty but I’ve been tested for diabetes and I don’t have it. What else could it be?

A: Kudos for you for knowing that excessive, chronic thirst is an indicator of diabetes. More kudos for having it checked out by your doctor.

Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth is a fairly common complaint.

The most common causes are also the simplest to remedy:

1. The foods you eat are too salty. This is may be the case if you rely heavily on processed or packaged foods which tend to be loaded with hidden sodium

2. You are not drinking enough. Even though it may seem like you are drinking all the time, you many not be drinking as much as you think you are and you may still be slightly dehydrated

3. Decreased saliva. As we get older, our salivary glands produces a lower volume of saliva per day. This can be remedied by keeping chewing gum handy.

4. Medications. Anti-cholinergic medications (ex anti-histamines) and diuretics can make your mouth dry and/or make you excrete more fluids than usual. Look at the side-effect profile of any medications you are currently taking.

There more serious causes of chronic thirst such as diabetes insipidus (different than diabetes mellitus) and psychogenic polydypisa, but there are clues to these conditions in the basic lab tests that your physician normally examines, so likely he/she would have caught these.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
5:29AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

Drink a little often instead of drinking much just once

2:25AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

4:22PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012


9:31PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012


11:31AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

good information

7:54PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

I am a 20 year old RA (Room Attandant) and I suffer from always being thirsty. I clean rooms in a hotel all day and I am constantly refilling my 15 liter CamelBak, am I still not drinking enough?

9:39AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Many thanks!

7:08AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

great article

6:35PM PDT on May 4, 2012

Thats interesting. I think I've been eating too much salty foods.....atleast I hope I am

12:42AM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Good to know. Thanks.

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