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Classification according to ICD-10
R63.1 Polydipsia
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

As polydipsia (from Greek πολυδίψιος polydípsios "much thirsty" to πολύς polys "a lot" and δίψα dipsa "thirst") refers morbidly increased in medicine thirst . It is usually associated with increased urine excretion ( polyuria ). The opposite of polydipsia, i.e. a lack of thirst, is known as adipsia .

Thirst and increased drinking can be banal, but they can also be signs of serious, sometimes life-threatening illnesses. The daily intake for adults is normally a maximum of four liters. In the case of higher amounts, an underlying disease should be ruled out by a doctor.


The cause of this disease is usually the kidney's decreased ability to concentrate urine. This leads to water loss through the urine. The increased excretion also increases the feeling of thirst and it is necessary to drink more to balance the fluid balance.

Possible underlying diseases can be: diabetes mellitus , diabetes insipidus , diseases of the parathyroid gland ( hyperparathyroidism ), Cushing's syndrome , electrolyte disorders ( hypercalcemia ), kidney diseases, use of drugs that flush out water ( diuretics ), side effects of various drugs, psychogenic diseases (behavioral and personality disorders , e.g. latent anorexia ), alcohol-related brain damage (e.g. central pontine myelinolysis ). Increased alcohol consumption, fever, and diarrhea can also lead to temporary polydipsia with low disease severity.


As a complication of increased excretion, there is always the risk of dehydration if insufficient fluid is supplied.

There may also be a loss of salts and minerals in the body that are excreted in the urine and not reabsorbed.


Therapy consists of treating the underlying disease. The main goal is to identify and treat serious causes of increased thirst and pathological drinking. Diabetes mellitus is very often the cause of the feeling of thirst.

Web links

Wiktionary: Polydipsia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations