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Why does my child wake up at night feeling thirsty?

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Practicing since : 2002
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my 18 month old child wakes up in the middle of the night very thirsty
Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 3 hours later

Thanks for your query.

Let me provide you with some information and reassurance. The first thing that comes to mind if we talk about a child showing evidence of being thirsty more than we might expect would be diabetes. If there is any family history of diabetes we would have to consider this as well. It is fairly easy to rule out diabetes with a simple blood test which may have already been performed by the pediatrician. Diabetes is a disturbance of blood sugar control which can cause the glucose level to be abnormally high. When this happens, it can cause a patient to drink fluids excessively while urinating in large volumes as well. This is one consideration which you can discuss with your son's doctor.

Next - we have to consider if your son is adequately hydrated during the day. If he is not drinking enough fluids, the thirst center in his brain will cause him to drink more during the night as well.

Next we have to make sure his kidneys are working properly - again something that can be assessed via a simple blood test which evaluates electrolytes and kidney function.

I recommend you contact the pediatrician to schedule an examination with some possible blood testing to rule out any underlying causes which may be contributing to the night-time thirst.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. If there are additional concerns, I am available for your followups.


Dr. Robert Galamaga
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