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Excessive thirst

It's normal to sometimes feel thirsty. But it's not normal to feel thirsty all the time even when you're drinking a lot of fluids. Contact your GP to find out the cause of your excessive thirst.

Causes of feeling thirsty

Most of the time if you're feeling thirsty it's because you need to drink more fluids.

This can happen if you:

  • sweat a lot after doing exercise
  • are unwell with vomiting and diarrhoea
  • do not drink enough fluids
  • drink too much alcohol or caffeine
  • eat salty or spicy food
  • have a high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above
  • are pregnant

Drink more fluids to see if it helps. Avoid alcohol and caffeine or you may be at risk of becoming dehydrated.


Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • feeling thirsty
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
  • peeing little and less than 4 times a day
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling tired
  • dry mouth, lips and eyes

Read more about dehydration

Dry mouth

You may think you're thirsty when you have a dry mouth.

If it's a dry mouth, you may have:

  • a burning sensation or soreness in your mouth
  • changes in your sense of taste
  • difficulty speaking, eating or swallowing

When to contact your GP

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP if you have excessive thirst and:

  • drinking more fluids for several days has not helped
  • you need to pee often
  • you're pregnant

Your GP will check if there's a cause for your excessive thirst. For example, medicines you're taking, anaemia or diabetes.

The treatment depends on the cause of your excessive thirst.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 25 March 2021
Next review due: 25 March 2024

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.