Are you suffering from extreme thirst or frequent urination? If yes, chances are you might have the rare form of diabetes called Diabetes insipidus.  

This form of diabetes only affects 1 out of 250,000 people (about half the population of Wyoming). Although in this form of diabetes your blood sugar levels stay in the normal range, without treatment it can damage your kidneys. So, it is important to notice its symptoms and get treatment to manage your condition. 

Keep reading this article to get insights about Diabetes insipidus.  

Diabetes insipidus can be defined as a condition that attacks the ADH (Antidiuretic hormone) that controls the kidney’s ability to store fluid, either by its lower production or loss of the ability to manage kidneys resulting in frequent urination and extreme thirst.  

ADH or vasopressin hormone is produced by the hypothalamus (which is found in your brain). It is released when you feel thirsty and tells the kidney to store the water. When you have fluid in excess then it tells the kidney to release the fluid in the form of urine.  

Unlike Diabetes Mellitus, it does not raise your blood sugar levels nor lead to life-threatening complications but if you do not manage it with the treatment you might end up damaging your kidneys. 


Types of diabetes insipidus 

There are 4 types of diabetes insipidus: 

  • Central diabetes insipidus 
  • Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus 
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus 
  • Gestational diabetes insipidus 


  • Central diabetes insipidus: Central diabetes insipidus happens when the pituitary gland or hypothalamus is damaged, and the body does not produce or store vasopressin hormone which results in the kidneys not being able to store fluid and releasing all the fluid from the body through urination.  

Causes of Central diabetes insipidus 

The damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland can happen from many causes, including-  

  • Tumors affecting the hypothalamus or pituitary gland.  
  • Infection 
  • Inflammation (from tuberculosis).  
  • Any head/brain surgery that damages the hypothalamus or pituitary gland 
  • Any severe injury to the head (that causes damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland) 
  • An autoimmune reaction (that causes your immune system to attack your body).  
  • Inherited gene mutation  
  • Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus: Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus happens when there is damage to the hypothalamus. As a result, the person drinks too much fluid.  

Causes of Dipsogenic diabetes 

  • Surgery, injury, tumor, infection, or inflammation (that can cause damage to the hypothalamus gland) 
  • Several mental conditions can cause damage to the hypothalamus gland (such as schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder).  
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus: Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus happens when kidneys fail to respond to the vasopressin hormone and end up removing too much fluid from the bloodstream. This increases the amount of urination, especially at night.  

Causes of Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus 

This disease can happen due to many reasons: 

  • Chronic kidney disease.  
  • Low levels of potassium (in the blood).  
  • Elevated levels of calcium (in the blood).  
  • Medications (such as lithium and tetracycline).  
  • Blockage of the urinary tract.  
  • Inherited gene mutation.  
  • Gestational diabetes insipidus: This is one of the rare types of diabetes insipidus which only affects pregnant women. It happens when the body develops an enzyme in the placenta which breaks down the vasopressin hormone or happens when a pregnant woman’s body produces a chemical called prostaglandin, which affects the kidneys’ response to vasopressin. This condition does not develop any major symptoms and heals on its own after childbirth.  


The major symptoms are given below: 

  • Extreme thirst. 
  • Frequent urination 
  • A large amount of Light color urine. 

If you develop dehydration these symptoms also might develop. 

  • Feel tiredness 
  • Having a dry mouth, lips, and eyes 
  • Difficulty in performing simple mental tasks.  
  • Nausea 
  • Fainting  


Treatment depends on the type of diabetes insipidus you have.  

To treat central diabetes insipidus, desmopressin is used. This medication works as vasopressin (in the place of missing vasopressin in the body), you can take this medication in any form such as pills, injections, or in the form of nasal spray. You can also use indomethacin if prescribed by the doctor. 

To treat nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, treating the cause helps to manage nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. If the kidney produces more urine, it can be reduced with the help of medications such as thiazide diuretics. Or a combination of aspirin and ibuprofen, to reduce urine frequency or volume. Doctors try several combinations of medications until they find out the best combination for you.  

Right now, there is no effective treatment available for dipsogenic diabetes insipidus. You can suck on ice cubes or use sour candies to increase saliva. You can take desmopressin at bedtime to reduce urination at night. Your doctor can recommend monitoring your blood sodium levels so that they can prevent them from dropping low.  

Desmopressin is used to treat gestational diabetes insipidus because it is a possible way to replace the missing vasopressin hormone in the body until it heals on its own after childbirth.  

This rare form of diabetes is not life-threatening, and you can easily manage its symptoms with medication and drinking lots of fluid to avoid dehydration, although it is better if you notice its symptoms and visit the doctor.  

Want to know more about the diagnostic tests that you need to take to diagnose diabetes insipidus? Call us at 718-DORAL-55 to get a free consultation at our clinic.