Thirst - absent

Alternative names 
Adipsia; Lack of thirst; Absence of thirst

Absence of thirst is a lack of the urge to consume fluids.

The absence of thirst at various times during the day is normal, if the body is not requiring fluid replacement. However, a rapid change in the need for fluids should prompt a visit to your physician.

Common Causes

  • Hypothalamic injury or tumor  
  • Head injury  
  • Stroke  
  • Bronchial tumor (SIADH conditions)  
  • Cirrhosis

Home Care
Follow your health care provider’s recommendations. Drink adequate amounts of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty (6 to 8 glasses per day may be advised).

Call your health care provider if

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you notice any abnormal absence of thirst.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office

The health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination.

Medical history questions may include the following:

  • Time pattern:       o When was the symptom first noticed?       o Did the absence of thirst develop suddenly or slowly?  
  • Quality:       o Is the thirst decreased or totally absent?       o Is drinking fluids possible?       o Did the loss of a thirst sensation follow a known Head injury?  
  • Other       o What other symptoms are also present?       o Is there abdominal pain?       o Are there headaches?       o Is there difficulty swallowing?       o Is there an aversion to drinking fluids?       o Is there difficulty breathing?       o Is there a cough?       o Are there changes in the appetite?       o Is there a decrease in the amount of urine produced?       o Are there changes in skin color?       o What medications are being taken?

The physical examination may include a detailed nervous system examination if a Head injury or problem with the hypothalamus is suspected. Diagnostic tests will vary depending on the history and physical examination findings.

Necessary fluids may be replaced intravenously.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised:

Diseases and Conditions Center

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.