Excessive thirst is characterized as having the urge to drink more fluids than necessary. This is commonly referred to as polydipsia and is not considered to be normal in toddlers. A toddler that exhibits symptoms of excessive fluid consumption will often also urinate on frequent basis. If you think your child may have polydipsia, you should contact a physician as there are several disorders or medical problems that could be the problem.
Diabetes mellitus results when there is insufficient insulin development, which causes high blood sugar. According to the Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, this is the number one cause of polydipsia. Toddlers who have diabetes mellitus can also present with diabetic ketoacidosis and possible weight loss. If not treated correctly, diabetes can be very dangerous. Contact a physician if your child has any symptoms of diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes insipidus is considered to be rare, but results in excessive urination. This loss of fluid will result in extreme thirst. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases state that children who have diabetes insipidus are likely to be irritable and have symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and fever. It is important that children who have diabetes insipidus drink enough fluids to replace the amount lost during urination. A health care provider should be contacted if your child has excessive urination.
Occasionally, children can develop problems with their liver. Hepatitis is one particular liver disease that children can have. Excessive thirst is a common symptom of liver disease as well as hepatitis. Usually, liver disease will also be accompanied by other symptoms. One common symptom is jaundice, or a yellowing of the skin and eyes. Abdominal distension and abnormal stool color can also indicate liver problems. Children who have these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Sickle Cell Anemia
The kidneys and renal diseases may play a part in your toddler's polydipsia. According to the Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, sickle cell anemia causes excessive thirst because of the chronic sickling of the cells in the medulla of the kidney do not allow urine to be concentrated. A urine test should be able to tell if kidney disease is present and a hemoglobin electrophoresis can tell if sickle cell traits are in attendance.
Luckily, your child's excessive thirst is likely unrelated to a disease or other medical condition. MedlinePlus states that polydipsia can come from excessive diarrhea, vomiting or sweating. If your child has eaten a salty or spicy meal, this can also result in excessive thirst. Regardless of the reason, your child should be evaluated if their thirst does not go away for long periods as pediatric polydipsia is not normal.
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Diabetes Insipidus
- Medline Plus: Thirst--Excessive
- Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine; Gary R. Fleisher and Stephen Ludwig
- Liver Disease: Symptoms