Know the basics
What is diabetes insipidus?
Diabetes insipidus is a condition that causes frequent urination and extreme thirst. Diabetes insipidus can keep you from sleeping at night and may cause bed-wetting. Symptoms may seem similar to diabetes mellitus but the cause is different. Diabetes mellitus is caused by problems with insulin and high blood sugar whereas diabetes insipidus is caused by how your kidneys handle urine. They are both unrelated.
How common is diabetes insipidus?
Diabetes insipidus is an uncommon and rare disease. The disease usually affects men more than women. The disease can appear at any age. You can limit your ability to disease by reducing the risk factors. Always consult your doctor for more information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of diabetes insipidus?
The common signs and symptoms of diabetes insipidus patient are frequent urination and extreme thirst. Other symptoms may include:
- Urine appears diluted and pale;
- Frequent urination at night;
For infants and children, some signs and symptoms may include:
- Fever, vomiting or diarrhea;
- Unusual wet diapers;
- Delayed growth;
- Weight loss;
- Unexplained fussiness or inconsolable crying;
- Dry skin with cool extremities.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should see your doctor if you notice excessive urination and extreme thirst. Status and condition can vary in many people. Always discuss with your doctor to be appointed diagnostic methods, treatment and the best treatment for you.
Know the causes
What causes diabetes insipidus?
Diabetes insipidus may be caused by problems with your pituitary gland and/or your kidneys.
Normally, your body is able to regulate the balance of how much fluid you drink and how much urine you make. Your kidneys remove excess fluids by creating urine, which is temporarily stored in your bladder. When you are dehydrated, your pituitary gland sends a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) to the kidneys to retain fluids and make less urine. Anti-diuretic hormone, also known as vasopressin, is made in your hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland.
There are different forms of diabetes insipidus that is determined by the cause. These may include:
- Central diabetes insipidus. This is caused when the hypothalamus or pituitary gland is damaged. This disrupts the storage and release of ADH. This may be caused by surgery, a tumor, meningitis, genetic disorder or head injury.
- Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. This is usually caused by a defect in the kidney tubules (structure in the kidneys where water is excreted or retained). This defect may be caused by a genetic disorder or chronic kidney disorder. There are some drugs that may cause damage to the kidney tubules. These drugs include lithium and demeclocycline.
- Gestational diabetes insipidus. This occurs during pregnancy and is only temporary.
- Primary polydipsia. This condition, also known as dipsogenic diabetes insipidus or psychogenic polydipsia, is caused by excessive fluid intake. It does not involve any problems with ADH production or response.
In some cases, the exact cause is unknown.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for diabetes insipidus?
Some factors that can increase your risk for diabetes insipidus may include:
- Gender. Men are often are more at risk for diabetes insipidus than women.
- Genetic factors. Parents who have diabetes insipidus may cause their children to be more at risk for the condition.
Having no risk factors does not mean you cannot get the condition. You should consult your doctor for more details.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is diabetes insipidus diagnosed?
To diagnose diabetes insipidus, your doctor may perform blood and urine tests. Also, depending on the severity of the disease, patients may be asked to MRI (magnetic resonance) in the brain and other additional tests.
How is diabetes insipidus treated?
Treatment options for diabetes insipidus depend on your condition and cause. Some treatment options may include the following:
- Desmopressin therapy. Usually if the cause is lack of ADH, your doctor may prescribe a synthetic hormone called desmopressin. This drug may be available as a nasal spray, oral tables or injection. This treatment is best suited for central diabetes insipidus.
- Diuretic therapy. This treatment is used for nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. The drug used is called hydrochlorothiazide. This may be used alone or with other medications. Your doctor may put you on a low-sodium diet.
- Treating the underlying cause. If your symptoms are drug-induced, your doctor will change your medication to a different alternative. If your condition is caused by a mental condition, your doctor will treat that first. In addition, your doctor will consider removal of a tumor if it is causing your condition.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage diabetes insipidus?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with diabetes insipidus:
- Prevent dehydration by drinking enough water when thirsty.
- Take medications as directed by your doctor.
- Communicate with your doctor if you have any changes in your condition.
- Go to the hospital or the nearest health center if you have signs of high fever, diarrhea, sweating or you are urinating more even during the treatment period.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download version.
Diabetes insipidus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/diabetesinsipidus.html. Accessed July 15, 2016.
Diabetes insipidus. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes-insipidus/basics/definition/con-20026841. Accessed July 15, 2016.
Nephrogenic Diabetes insipidus. http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/nephrogenic-diabetes-insipidus-symptoms-causes-and-treatments. Accessed July 15, 2016.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017