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Diabetes Insipidus


Diabetes insipidus is an uncommon illness that causes frequent thirst and frequent urination. Despite having no connection to diabetes, diabetes insipidus exhibits several of the same clinical symptoms. Extreme thirst and frequent urination, which is more at night, are the two prominent signs of diabetes insipidus. A person with diabetes insipidus may urinate approximately 20 liters of urine per day in the most severe stages. Diabetes insipidus cannot be cured. But some therapies can satisfy your thirst, reduce your urination, and prevent the development of dehydration


Vasopressin, commonly known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH), is a molecule that contributes to diabetes insipidus. The hypothalamus releases vasopressin, which is then kept in reserve by the pituitary gland.

One part of the brain which regulates mood and hunger is the hypothalamus. Inside your brain, over the bridge of your nose, is where you'll find the pituitary gland. By controlling how much urine your kidneys make, vasopressin manages the quantity of fluid in the body.

Your pituitary gland secretes vasopressin to preserve water and halt the output of urine when the amount of fluid in the body drops. Vasopressin malfunctions in diabetes insipidus, causing an excessive amount of urine to be generated and expelled from the body.


Diabetes insipidus can be classified into different varieties, such as:

Cranial Diabetes

Cranial diabetes insipidus develops when the body does not produce enough vasopressin to control urine output. The most common kind of diabetes insipidus is cranial diabetes insipidus. Injury to the hypothalamic or pituitary gland may be the reason. About one-third of all instances of cerebral diabetes insipidus have no known etiology.

Nephrogenic diabetic insipidus

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus develops when the kidneys' ability to react to anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) is compromised due to a structural abnormality in the kidneys.

The flaw might result from a chronic renal disease or an inherited problem. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can also be brought on by several medications, including lithium and antiviral treatments like foscarnet.

Idiopathic instances like these seem to be caused by the immune system targeting the typical, healthy cells that make AVP (Arginine Vasopressin hormone). What triggers the immune system to act in this manner is unknown.

Gestational diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus during pregnancy is uncommon. It happens when an enzyme produced by the placenta reduces ADH in the mother's body during pregnancy.

Risk Factors And Epidemiology

Some of the typical risk factors for the emergence of diabetes insipidus include the following:

·         Hereditary

·         Pregnancy

·         Renal polycystic disorder.

·         Pituitary diseases

·         Damage to the hypothalamus.

·         High blood calcium levels

·         Sickle cell syndrome

The prevalence of diabetes insipidus is about 1 in 25,000, making it a rare disease condition. Congenital diabetes insipidus accounts for less than 10% of diabetes insipidus in clinical practice. Males are often affected by nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, while females can carry the gene to their offspring.

Signs And Symptoms

Diabetes insipidus symptoms and signs include:

·         Having an intense thirst

·         Production of a large quantity of light urine.

·         Having frequent nighttime urination needs that require getting up.

·         Choosing iced beverages

·         You may urinate up to 20 liters of urine every day if your condition worsens and you consume a lot of fluids. An adult in good health normally urinates between 1 and 2 liters daily.

The following clinical features might appear in a baby or young kid with diabetes insipidus:

·         Wet, heavy diapers

·         Bed-wetting

·         Difficulty sleeping

·         Fever

·         Vomiting

·         Hard stools

·         Sluggish growth


·         Low weight


Water Deprivation Test

During this test, you'll be advised to refrain from drinking anything for many hours while being observed by a physician and medical staff. ADH enables your kidneys to reduce the quantity of fluid lost in the urine, preventing dryness while liquids are prohibited. During this test, your doctor could also check your blood concentrations of ADH or provide synthetic ADH. This will reveal if your body is making enough ADH and whether your kidneys are able to react to ADH as predicted.


An MRI can be used to check for anomalies inside or close to the pituitary gland. This examination is non-invasive. It creates precise images of the brain's tissues using radio signals and a strong magnetic field.

Genetic tests


Your doctor may recommend genetic testing if other family members have experienced excessive urinating issues.

Differential Diagnosis

A couple of alternative diagnoses for cranial diabetes insipidus are primary polydipsia and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Since the treatments for various entities vary greatly, and improper therapy might have significant consequences, accurate differentiation among these entities is crucial.


The goal of diabetes insipidus treatments is to decrease how much urine your body generates. There are various methods for treating diabetes insipidus and managing symptoms.

Cranial diabetes insipidus

Treatment for benign cranial diabetes insipidus would not always be necessary. If you pass between 3 and 4 liters of urine in a 24-hour period, your case of cranial diabetes insipidus is regarded as mild.

You might be able to reduce your discomfort by drinking more water to stay hydrated. You could be instructed to consume a specific amount of water each day by your doctor or specialist.

Your doctor will give you therapy that substitutes for vasopressin since a lack of vasopressin is what is causing your problem.



This drug reduces urination by replacing the deficient anti-diuretic hormone. Desmopressin comes in tablet, nasal application, and injectable forms.

ADH is still produced but in varying amounts daily. You may therefore require a different dosage of desmopressin. Water retention and perhaps dangerously low blood salt levels can result from using more desmopressin than is necessary.

Desmopressin has very few adverse effects and is quite harmless to use but some adverse consequences could be:

·         Headache

·         Abdominal pain

·         A runny or clogged nose, feeling ill

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

Desmopressin often cannot be used to treat nephrogenic diabetes insipidus since it results from your kidneys not reacting to vasopressin rather than a deficiency of vasopressin.

Thiazide diuretic

Thiazide diuretics can slow down how quickly the kidneys filter blood, resulting in less urine excreted from the body.

Side effects are rare, but might include impotence in men, indigestion, and dizziness upon standing.

Anti-inflammatory medications

When combined with thiazide diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, further reduce urine volume. However, long-term NSAID use raises your chance of getting a stomach ulcer.


Typically, diabetes insipidus doesn't result in significant issues. However, the risk of mortality is greatest for young children, the elderly, and people with mental problems. Treatment for pregnancy insipidus is available, and it usually goes away a few weeks after giving birth.

Lifestyle Modifications

Preventing dehydration is the most crucial action. If you have diabetes insipidus, take water every so often or carry water with you everywhere you go. Your physician can advise you on the recommended daily hydration intake. Your doctor or dietitian might advise you to reduce salt and proteins in your meals if your disease is moderate since this will encourage your kidneys to generate less urine. This can entail consuming fewer salty foods and foods high in protein, such as processed meals, red meat, poultry, and dry fruits.

Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 16, 2023.


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Diabetes Insipidus - NIDDK (theclinics.com)