Thirsty At Basically All Times? Read This

Photographed by Andi Elloway.
You seem to have an unquenchable thirst. (For water, come on.) So what gives? Why do you need to be constantly sipping on your Nalgene while your coworkers can go hours without needing a drink? Some of it definitely comes down to your regular old individual differences — kind of like how some people are always chilly and others are always too warm — but there are real medical conditions that can make you extra thirsty too.
Obviously, the main reason you feel thirsty is because you're dehydrated. But the causes of dehydration aren't always as obvious. And some of us are just more sensitive to that "thirst reflex" than others, says Albert Ahn, MD, an internist at NYU Langone Medical Center. So, even though you may not actually be less hydrated than your coworkers, your body's thirst cues (e.g. having a dry mouth) may just be way more annoying to you.
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But those cues can be more complicated than they seem. Believe it or not, having a dry mouth doesn't necessarily mean you're in need of water."[Dry mouth] could be due to dehydration," Dr. Ahn says, "but you could also be fully hydrated and still have symptoms of dry mouth." That's partly because there are so many other causes of dry mouth — including a surprising amount of everyday over-the-counter medications (hello, antihistamines).
Because there can be quite a lot of detective work involved here, you should definitely talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your thirst level. If you also notice any of the more serious signs of dehydration (e.g. dizziness, confusion, or dried-out skin) or you have some paradoxical fluid retention or swelling along with your intense thirst, definitely reach out for medical help. Those could signal more severe underlying issues with your hormones or electrolytes.
For now, continue on here to see a few of the most common explanations for your daily need to down a six-pack of sparkling water.
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What You Eat

Of course, you'll feel thirsty after you eat something salty or spicy, Dr. Ahn says. Salty foods pull water out of your body's cells, which triggers those thirst cues in your brain. However, recent research suggests that if your diet is high in salt overall, you're more likely to feel extra hungry than extra thirsty because the salt causes your body to retain water.

When it comes to spice, though, there's a compound in hot peppers that causes your brain to interpret them as being literally hot. That means you're gonna want to put that fire out with whatever liquid is closest to you.
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How Much You Work Out

Again, it's not surprising that you're going to need some additional water if you've been working out because you lose water through sweat. But if you're simply a more active person in general, your water needs are going to go up, Dr. Ahn says.
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How Much You Sweat

Some of us naturally sweat more than others, and that's just a fact of life. And, Dr. Ahn explains, those who are on the sweatier end of the spectrum are also probably going to feel thirsty more often because they need to replace more of that lost water.
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Being Sick

When you're recovering from an illness, you may feel like you need a bunch more liquid. That could be because you're dehydrated thanks to vomiting or diarrhea. Or, if you're dealing with something like a UTI, your increased thirst could be because of frequent peeing. Either way, don't hesitate to replenish those fluids!
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Your Meds

As we said earlier, there are a ton of very common medications that can make you feel thirsty. That might be because they make you need to pee, because they cause dry mouth, or because they really do dehydrate you in some other way.

The full list of these drugs is long, but Dr. Ahn says it includes allergy medications, antidepressants, antibiotics, antacid drugs, and diuretic medications prescribed for high-blood pressure.
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Smoking

Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco in any form can cause dry mouth, making it seem like you need to drink a lot of water even though you're not really dehydrated. Instead, tobacco reduces the flow of saliva in your mouth. Heads up: Smoking weed can cause this, too.
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Your Thyroid

Having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) is known to increase your thirst and your appetite, Dr. Ahn says. However, it's these more subtle symptoms that tend to go unnoticed early on, compared to more obvious symptoms such as period irregularities. If you've noticed that you're extra thirsty or hungry and there's no obvious cause (e.g. you've increased the number of workouts you do every week), then you should definitely check in with your doctor.
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Migraines

This is one that researchers still haven't figured out, but many patients report feeling extra thirsty before a migraine hits. That may be because vomiting, increased urination, and diarrhea are also symptoms of migraines. Others report that dehydration can trigger a migraine.
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Diabetes

Both diabetes mellitus (which includes Type 1 and 2) and diabetes insipidus can make you feel extra thirsty, but for slightly different reasons. Diabetes insipidus is rare and directly affects your kidneys, making it difficult to manage the amount of fluids in your body. This makes you need to pee a lot and drink a lot to make up for it.

With the much more common diabetes mellitus, it's your blood glucose levels that are affected. When you have too much glucose in your blood, your kidneys have to work harder than usual, which causes you to pee more often and, therefore, also increases your thirst.
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Rare Conditions

There are a ton of other rare health conditions that can affect your thirst level, says Dr. Ahn, because pretty much anything that affects your kidneys, hormones, or electrolyte levels can affect your thirst.

In particular, he says Sjogren's syndrome (an autoimmune disorder affecting the salivary glands) and Cushing's syndrome (a condition caused by an excessive level of the hormone cortisol) are some of the more obvious culprits.
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