Lima Memorial Health System Logo
Approximate ER WAIT TIME

Health Library

Thirst - absent

Thirst - absent

Adipsia; Lack of thirst; Absence of thirst


Absence of thirst is a lack of the urge to drink fluids, even when the body is low on water or has too much salt.



Not being thirsty at times during the day is normal, if the body does not need more fluid. But if you have a sudden change in the need for fluids, you should see your health care provider right away.




As people age, they are less likely to notice their thirst. Therefore, they may not drink fluids when needed.

Absence of thirst may be due to:

  • Birth defects of the brain
  • Bronchial tumor that causes syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Injury or tumor of part of the brain called the hypothalamus
  • Stroke


Home Care


Follow your provider's recommendations.


When to Contact a Medical Professional


Call your provider if you notice any abnormal lack of thirst.


What to Expect at Your Office Visit


The provider will take a medical history and perform a physical exam.

You may be asked questions such as:

  • When did you first notice this problem? Did it develop suddenly or slowly?
  • Is your thirst decreased or totally absent?
  • Are you able to drink fluids? Do you suddenly dislike drinking fluids?
  • Did the loss of thirst follow a head injury?
  • Do you have other symptoms such as abdominal pain, headaches, or swallowing problems?
  • Do you have a cough or difficulty breathing?
  • Do you have any changes in appetite?
  • Do you urinate less than usual?
  • Do you have any changes in skin color?
  • What medicines are you taking?

The provider will do a detailed nervous system exam if a head injury or problem with the hypothalamus is suspected. Tests may be needed, depending on the results of your exam.

Your provider will recommend treatment if needed.

If you are dehydrated, fluids will likely be given through a vein (IV).




Al-Awqati Q. Disorders of sodium and water. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 108.

Koeppen BM, Stanton BA. Regulation of body fluid osmolality: regulation of water balance. In: Koeppen BM, Stanton BA, eds. Renal Physiology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 5.

BACK TO TOPText only


        A Closer Look


          Self Care


            Tests for Thirst - absent


              Review Date: 1/16/2021

              Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.