Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is an uncommon disorder that causes an imbalance of fluids in the body. This imbalance leads to the production of large amount of urine. It also makes the person feel very thirsty even if they have something to drink. While the terms “Diabetes mellitus” and “Diabetes insipidus” sound similar but they are not. Diabetes mellitus- involves high blood sugar levels and can occur as type 1 or type 2 is very common whereas Diabetes insipidus involves excess of urination and is very rare.


Diabetes insipidus occurs when the body can’t properly balance the body’s fluid levels. The kidneys filter the fluid portion of our blood to remove the waste products. The majority of the fluid is returned to the bloodstream while the waste and a smaller amount of fluid make up urine. Urine is excreted from the body after being temporarily stored in the bladder. A hormone called anti-diuretic hormone(ADH) or vasopressin, is needed for the fluid that’s filtered by the kidneys to go back into the bloodstream. ADH is made in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland, a small gland found in the base of the brain. Conditions that cause a deficiency of ADH or block the effect of ADH result in production of excess urine.


  1. Central Diabetes insipidus– damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus from surgery, a tumor, head injury or illness can cause central diabetes insipidus by affecting the usual production, storage and release of ADH. An inherited genetic disease also can cause this condition.
  2. Nephrogenic Diabetes insipidus– occurs when there’s a defect in the structures of the kidneys that make them unable to properly respond to ADH. The defect may be due to an inherited(genetic) disorder or a chronic kidney disorder. Certain drugs such as lithium or antiviral medications such as foscarnet (Foscavir) also can cause nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
  3. Gestational Diabetes insipidus– is a rare condition. It occurs only during pregnancy when an enzyme made by the placenta destroys ADH in the mother.
  4. Primary Polydipsia– also known as dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, this condition can cause production of large amounts of diluted urine from drinking excessive amounts of fluids.


  • Being extremely thirsty.
  • producing large amounts of pale urine.
  • frequently needing to get up to urinate during the night.
  • trouble sleeping
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • delayed growth and weight loss.
  • electrolyte imbalance- can cause an imbalance in minerals in our body such as sodium, potassium that maintain the fluid balance in our body and can lead to weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle cramps etc.


  • For mild diabetes insipidus, we only need to increase our water intake.
  • if the condition is caused by an abnormality in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus(such as a tumor) then the doctor first treats the abnormality with a synthetic hormone called desmopressin that replaces the anti-diuretic hormone(ADH) and decreases urination.
  • available as a nasal spray, a tablet or by injection.

Categories: Health

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