What Is Diabetes Insipidus: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Diagnosis

What is diabetes insipidus? As the name suggests, diabetes insipidus is a rare condition that produces an imbalance in the body’s fluids. This imbalance causes you to urinate excessively. Even if you have anything to drink, it makes you incredibly thirsty. Do you know what are diabetes insipidus causes, symptomstreatment, and diagnosis?

Diabetes insipidus affects 1 in 25,000 Americans. The kidneys can’t prevent water loss, causing persistent thirst and urination. An individual urinates roughly 2 qt every day. Diabetes insipidus patients may urinate 20 qt every day.

Although they share a name and specific symptoms, the conditions are unrelated. Diabetes alters blood sugar & causing urination to eliminate excess glucose. However, Insipidus impairs the kidneys’ urine concentration.

Moreover, drinking water helps regulate this illness. In addition, Infants and older adults may have difficulty quenching their thirst.  Diabetes insipidus can cause disorientation, convulsions, brain damage, or death.

It might be central or nephrogenic. First, the pituitary gland doesn’t release the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin. In the latter, vasopressin secretion is common, but the kidneys don’t react appropriately.

Let’s discuss more here.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Diabetes Insipidus: What Is It?

Insipidus is a disorder in which the kidneys are unable to hold on to the water they need to function properly. Untreated, severe dehydration and electrolyte loss can be life-threatening.

The hypothalamus in the brain produces the antidiuretic hormone or vasopressin. In addition, it can cause diabetes insipidus. Vasopressin regulates urine concentration by acting on the kidneys. Diabetes insipidus can occur if vasopressin’s average production or function interrupts.

Four primary forms of diabetes insipidus are common. However, the pituitary gland is responsible for the development of central diabetes insipidus. Sometimes the kidneys cannot appropriately react to vasopressin. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus might occur in this case. It is another harmful diabetes insidipus.

Moreover, the deficiency of the body’s ability to perceive thirst is a symptom of dipsogenic diabetic insipidus.

The placenta obliterates the mother’s vasopressin, creating gestational diabetes insipidus.

Diabetic insipidus treatment varies greatly depending on the kind of diabetic insipidus. However, if the symptoms are moderate, drinking more water may require to prevent things from worsening.

Desmopressin is a synthetic form of vasopressin. It is a successful therapy for most cases of central and gestational diabetes insipidus.

Furthermore, Hydrochlorothiazide uses to treat nephrogenic diabetic insipidus. Diabetic insipidus caused by dipsogenic diabetes is untreatable.

Diabetes insipidus causes dehydration and overhydration. Untreated complications might be fatal. Diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus have similar symptoms but are unrelated.

However, the right medical therapy must be provided for this condition. Most people with diabetes insipidus can treat with modern pharmaceuticals.


Common Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is characterized by excessive urine and thirst due to a lack of water retention. No life-threatening symptoms exist. But serious dehydration can occur in this case.

Diabetes insipidus symptoms might strike regularly or just on rare occasions. Extreme indications of any of the following symptoms are possible at times:

Common Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus

  • Craving for ice water.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Urinary output is excessive.
  • Uremic acidity in the urine (pale urine).
  • Thirst.

What signs and symptoms can point to a more severe problem? Dehydration can result from diabetes insipidus. It should be asses in an emergency.

If someone you’re with shows any of these signs of acute dehydration, contact 911:

  • Dry lips.
  • Fever of unknown origin (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Eyes that seem sunken in.

What Causes Diabetes Insipidus?

Now it is time to discuss on causes. Problems with the hormone vasopressin (AVP) is like as antidiuretic hormone. These are what lead to diabetes insipidus. This condition refers to as “water diabetes” (ADH).

However, the pituitary gland stores AVP produced by the hypothalamus. Hypothalamus controls hunger and mood. Behind your nose and underneath your brain is your pituitary gland.

The amount of urine that your kidneys make controls by AVP. It generally controls the amount of water that stays inside your body. Your pituitary gland secretes What is the role of AVP? AVP to preserve water and halt the generation of urine. In fact when there is a drop in the amount of water in your body.

Diabetes insipidus prevents AVP from controlling body water. It hampers its regular functions. It results in an excessive amount of urine being develop and discharge.

Moreover, the diabetes insipidus can take on a number of distinct forms. We’ll go over each of them in detail below:

1. Central Diabetes Insipidus:

Vasopressin levels fall or fall entirely in patients with central diabetes insipidus. Primary central diabetes insipidus is a different type of thing. It can develop from birth. Secondary central diabetes insipidus can develop later in life for various reasons.

When it comes to primary central diabetes insipidus, the etiology of the disease is often unclear. Vasopressin secretion gene abnormality may be a factor in some cases.

Secondary vasopressin deficiency can result from a variety of illnesses and accidents. There are several types of brain lesions. Those can be induced by head trauma, cancer, or brain surgery.

Central diabetes insipidus can also be brought on by other illnesses and infections that affect the entire body.

2. Cranial Diabetes Insipidus:

However, Cranial diabetes insipidus can cause by any one of three main factors:

  • Damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland cause by a tumor in the brain.
  • The pituitary gland and hypothalamus damage in severe head trauma.
  • Furthermore, brain or pituitary surgical complications.

About a third of all instances of cranial diabetes insipidus have no known etiology. It appears that the immune system is fighting healthy cells that produce AVP in these circumstances, which are “idiopathic.”

Why the immune system does this is a mystery. The following are less prevalent causes of cerebral diabetes insipidus:

  • Brain-spreading cancers.
  • Wolfram syndrome.
  • A stroke or drowning can induce abrupt oxygen deprivation to the brain.
  • Brain-damaging infections, including meningitis and encephalitis.


3. Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus:

Nephrons filter the trash from your blood and contribute to urine output. It is the most complicated structure. Their role is to regulate your body’s resorption of water. And the amount of water you pass via your urine when you urinate.

Furthermore, AVP signals the nephrons to reabsorb water into the body in a healthy person.

A lack of response from the kidneys’ nephrons to this signal results in excessive water loss in vast quantities of urine in patients with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Your thirst rises to compensate for the body’s loss of water. Congenital (existing at birth) or acquired (acquired later in life), nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can occur at any time (acquired).

4. Congenital Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus:

There are two genetic mutations to cause congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, both of which alter the normal function of genes.

Only around 10% of those with diabetes insipidus affects by the AVPR2 gene mutation.

It estimates that the disorder affects one in every 250,000 newborns. Only moms with the AVPR2 gene mutation may pass it on to their sons, even if they appear healthy.

All those with the AQP2 gene mutation, which can affect both men and women and causes congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (CNDI).

5. Acquired Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus:

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is the most prevalent cause of acquired diabetes insipidus.

Long-term lithium usage may harm kidney cells and make them unresponsive to AVP. Isn’t it sound frightening? Yes, it does. It is a serious type of diabetes insipidus.

Lithium medication can cause nephrogenic diabetes insipidus in more than half of those who take it for an extended period of time.

In many situations, stopping lithium therapy helps to restore normal kidney function. However, kidney impairment is frequently irreversible in these cases.

 People who use lithium should have their kidney function checked every three months. Why? Because of the potential for renal damage.

However, these are some of the more uncommon reasons for newly acquired nephrogenic diabetic insipidus:

  • Hypercalcemia: It’s a disorder in which the blood has too much calcium (high calcium levels can damage the kidneys).
  • Hypokalemia: A disorder characterized by an insufficiency of potassium in the body’s fluids and tissues.
  • Pyelonephritis: It is a syndrome in which there is damage done to the kidneys.
  • Blockage in the urinary tract: A kidney stone is one or both tubes that link the kidneys and bladder (ureters). It gets obstructed by an item that impairs the renal system.

6. Gestational Diabetes Insipidus:

However, at the end of the third trimester, a vasopressin imbalance might occur due to pregnancy. The placenta secretes an enzyme that breaks down vasopressin. It is what causes this to happen.

Due to pregnancy-related physiological changes, a woman’s thirst threshold reduces. It prompts her to drink more fluids. Her kidneys may also react differently to vasopressin.

Gestational diabetes insipidus is curable throughout pregnancy and usually disappears within a few weeks after giving birth. Fewer than 10 persons out of every 100,000 expectant mothers are affected by this disorder.

7. Dipsogenic Diabetes Insipidus:

Hypothalamic dysfunction leads to excessive thirst and frequent urination. It causes by an increased need to quench one’s thirst.

However, the following are examples of possible causes:

  • Injury to the hypothalamus from.
  • Surgery.
  • Infection.
  • Inflammation.
  • A tumor.
  • Head damage.
  • Mental health conditions.
  • Some medications.

Diabetes Insipidus Treatment

Treating diabetes insipidus is entirely about relieving the patient’s thirst and decreasing urine output.

Desmopressin is often used to treat most forms of diabetes insipidus in both adults and children (DDAVP). In addition to tablets, injections, and nasal sprays, this drug is offered as artificial vasopressin.

DDAVP acts as a substitute for vasopressin which is no longer produced by the body. However, DDAVP must be administered at the right dosage and only when required. Moreover, hyponatremia, or low blood sodium levels, can occur if you consume too much salt.

Furthermore, DDAVP cannot be used to treat the nephrogenic type because the kidneys do not react to vasopressin. 

There may be an underlying issue that must be addressed if the kidneys produce too much urine. They are altering medicines or prescribing a family of diuretics known as thiazides to assist in lower urine production.

In addition, a doctor could say:

  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation.
  • Diarrhea treatment with other diuretics
  • Reduces salt and protein consumption in the diet to assist the kidneys in producing less urine.

Diagnosis of Insidipus

Diagnosing diabetes insipidus can be challenging because of its prevalence and the symptoms it shares with other ailments.

Physical examinations, medical histories, and questioning regarding symptoms are all standard methods doctors use. In addition, they might ask for tests and treatments like:

Diagnosis of Insidipus


Using this test, you may see if your pee is too dilute to drink. In addition, it can assist in distinguishing between diabetes mellitus and insipidus by measuring glucose levels in the urine.

Blood tests:

These tests measure electrolyte levels and other chemicals in the blood. Furthermore, diagnosis of diabetic insipidus may also be helped by the results.


Deprivation of water:

Dehydration is induced by a person abstaining from drinking for some time. Moreover, a doctor will then measure the volume of urine they pass, their weight, and any changes in their blood and urine.

Additionally, the patient may be given vasopressin or other medications during the test. Diabetic insipidus can be diagnosed in this way.


Any damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland can be detected via imaging tests like MRI scans. However, it may recommend by a doctor.

Stimulation studies:

A medical expert will administer a vasopressin-stimulating solution. However, Copeptin, a chemical that rises with vasopressin, will be measured in the blood.

Final Verdict: Preventing Diabetes Insidipus

Preventing diabetes insipidus, which can be inherited or caused by various other factors, is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

However, it is feasible to control symptoms properly. Moreover, it’s a long-term illness, the prognosis might be bright if treated regularly.

Furthermore, diagnosing diabetes insipidus can be challenging because of its prevalence and the symptoms it shares with other ailments.

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