Monday, April 30, 2012

The Thirst Issue

Has anyone else ever dealt with extreme thirst? And not just like after running ten miles in the desert or something, but all the time? That's how I've been feeling for a long time now - no matter how much I guzzle, I can't drink enough to satisfy my thirst. For a while, I thought it was related to the medication I was on starting back in January - it made my mouth noticeably dry, but I've been off the drug for over a month now and I'm still always unbelievably thirsty. Honestly, I could stand by the sink for twenty minutes just refilling and draining my cup. What usually stops me from drinking more is that my stomach gets way too full and can't actually handle the volume of liquid I'm downing.

I try sticking to water, since I assume it's the best/healthiest way to hydrate myself, but I've also recently developed a liking for sweeter drinks (Gatorade, Vitamin Water, Snapple, Propel, that kind of stuff). For as long as I can remember, I've been head over heels in love with Diet Coke, but I'm trying really hard not to drink much of it because it makes me feel super bloated and uncomfortable. The deliciousness is almost worth it, but I also seem to remember hearing somewhere that it's also bad for your bones. (Is that true? I don't remember where I heard it, but it's scared me off from drinking soda regularly.) Plus, I've found that Diet Coke increases my appetite. Probably not a horrible thing at this point, but it freaks me out.

Anyway, my point is that I'm drinking constantly throughout the day, and I'm still always thirsty and always dreaming about gulping down an ice cold can of soda. I've never kept track of how much liquid I actually consume in a day, but if I had to make a really rough least 3-4 liters? So there's no way I'm dehydrated. And I'm not exercising at all, so I don't sweat anything out either. I don't smoke, I rarely drink alcohol, and my only caffeine is two small cups of coffee in the morning.

Anyone else have this problem? It's not exactly life-threatening, just kind of annoying when I have to keep filling up my water bottle and then running to the bathroom to pee every two hours.


  1. YES.

    I have dealt with this exact issue. At one point, being the scientist that I am, I measured my water intake every day for a week and found that I averaged a little over 2.5 gallons a day. And that was not intentional water-loading, it was all an honest response to thirst.

    When was the last time you had a blood workup? It might be a good idea to get a hormone/enzyme panel to see how your kidneys and liver are doing these days. Have you noticed a yellow tinge to your skin at all?

    I know it sucks to be thirsty, but be careful. I once drank so much water so fast that I had a hyponatremia event while I was home alone and it was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me.

    Also, any kind of soda or coffee are counterproductive for quenching thirst (and carbonation and/or caffeine will leach your bones, although 2 cups of coffee today isn't anything to worry about. If you take vitamins, don't take them within 2 hours of coffee or you won't really absorb them).

    Anyway, those are my tidbits of advice, but I do want to affirm that yes I have absolutely had this same issue. It's less intense now, but I still drink way more than an average person. Remember that if you are underweight or low average, you do lose water and dehydrate faster than someone of a higher weight (surface to volume ratio issue), but that effect shouldn't cause such an intense thirst. Have you talked to J. about it?

    I hope you get it figured out soon, as I know it's a pain.

    1. Hi Kaylee! I don't know how to comment now on Blogger so I'm responding to Cammy's comment (sorry Cammy, if you get an e-mail about my comment!)

      In terms of diet coke and depleted bone density - THIS IS VERY REAL.
      Here's something worth reading:

      Turns out Diet Coke (and all carbonated caffeine beverages) have not one, not two, but three strikes against them, when we’re talking bone health.

      First, drinking any diet soft drink probably means you’re replacing a healthier drink—notably, milk, or calcium-fortified water or juice—with a nutritionally empty one. You’re only going to consume so much liquid in a day; if you drink five cans of soda, you’re probably not also going to drink the liquid equivalent of milk or juice—just shy of half a gallon. There goes a prime source of calcium, key for keeping bones strong.

      Second, the phosphoric acid present in most sodas (not just diet sodas) leads to excessive calcium excretion—i.e., the calcium in your bloodstream is excreted via your urine at a faster rate. And, since your body maintains the calcium level in your bloodstream at all costs, your bones shed some of their calcium to bring the level in your blood back up. Leading to thinner bones.

      And third, the caffeine in many soft drinks leaches calcium from your bones: you lose about 6 milligrams of calcium from your bones for every 100 milligrams of caffeine ingested. A typical 12-ounce can of diet cola soda contains about 45mg of caffeine; Mountain Dew is even higher, at 55mg. In all fairness, that 6mg of lost calcium from your daily recommendation of up to 1500mg is fairly insignificant. And to put things in perspective, coffee has about three times the caffeine of soft drinks.


      I've had this information confirmed by numerous doctors. It's just counter-intuitive that a drink with so many chemicals would not affect you. I do indulge in my occasional Diet Pepsi (my soda of choice), but I feel guilty every time I do!!

      In terms of thirst - I have never felt this thirst you describe except when I take medication that lists dry mouth as a main side effect. Excessive thirst is a common symptom of diabetes. I would look into this if I were you, just in case! You also may be thirstier after you eat any excessively salty and/or spicy foods.

      Good luck with everything, Kaylee!

      - Alli (

  2. I'm a BIG MEGA TIME diet soda drinker. The only reason why it's been touted "bad for your bones" is because people who drink soda generally get too full to have room for milk (like the bloating you are experiencing). I will admit that I get full during the first 15 to 20 minutes after drinking 16 ounces of diet soda, but then it quickly gets digested, aso I still have room for other healthier beverages. I don't see any harm in drinknig soda. You might be a little wary with all the sweetners, but if the FDA says a sweetener is safe, then it's safe. My nutrition instructor even says that every study case against a sweetener is pretty much invalid, since rats and mice are not related to humans, and the studies were done ages ago.

    The thirst you are experiencing sounds like what I experienced during my anorexic recovery. I was SOOOOO thirsty. I think I had up to 36 oz. of water every four hours (not counting my 16 ounce shakes I had every three hours, and the soymilk I had with a meal). I remember having a dry mouth, and it felt kind of "fuzzy", and I would always welcome any kind of food containing water in it, and any liquid was my friend. You know something? The feeling started to go away after I gave up only sticking to my "safe" foods, and when I upped my calories past the "maintain my current weight" stage of 1400 calories. I'll never forget how letting go was like an epiphany! I felt so free, and I delved into eating all the foods I normally would eat (my loves!!! My first meal was Soy Mac 'N Cheeze, my all-time childhood favorite, made with love by my mom who cried with me when I told her I was changed). I'm not pushing you, but I'm just saying that probably everything will be normal with your body when you are ready to transition to a more normal amount of food for your age, height, and appropiate weight. :-)

  3. YES!!!! I had this kind of thirst too when I was in my eating disorder!! This symptom never gets talked about! This totally happened to me... my mom even thought maybe I was diabetic because I was drinking so much. I think it is definitely related to ED stuff because I notice when I've had some slips in the past (weight loss), I end up feeling thirsty like this again. So, yeah, i'm not sure waht the deal is but it's definitely ED-related I think!

  4. I'm totally with you on the thirst thing, I had no idea it was ED-related, though. Good to know. Probably a good idea to get some tests run, just in case it's a symptom of a different problem, too. I agree that it's super irritating to always be re-filling the water bottle and taking a million bathroom breaks. My bladder is tiny, so I feel like it's seriously all of the time. Hopefully this side-effect will decrease with improved health (ie. goal weight)? Take care!