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Diabetes Insipidus

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a disease that causes frequent urination. The amount of urine you make is controlled by antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH is made in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. ADH is stored and released by the pituitary gland. The 2 most common types of diabetes insipidus are central DI (CDI) and nephrogenic DI (NDI).


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Intake and output:

Your healthcare providers will need to know the amount of liquid you are getting. They will also need to know how much you are urinating.


You may be weighed each day. Healthcare providers will compare your weight from day to day to see how much fluid your body is losing.


  • Vasopressin is a medicine that helps decrease the amount you urinate. You may need this medicine if you have CDI.
  • Certain diuretics such as thiazide diuretics may be given if you have NDI. These medicines an help your kidneys control the amount you urinate.
  • Certain NSAIDs can be used to decrease the amount you urinate if you have NDI.


  • A 24 hour urine test may be done. You will need to collect all of your urine for 24 hours. You will urinate into a container. Healthcare providers will measure and record how much you urinate. The urine will then be sent to a lab for tests.
  • A water deprivation test is done to decide if you have DI and to find the cause. The test may also tell healthcare providers if you have CDI or NDI. You will be asked not to drink any fluids. Then you will need to give a urine sample so that it can be tested. Your weight will also be checked every hour. You may need blood tests to measure your ADH levels every 2 hours. You may be given a shot of ADH or another medicine that acts like ADH. Healthcare providers will take another blood and urine sample about 1 hour after you get the medicine.
  • A hypertonic saline infusion test may be done. Healthcare providers will give you liquid through an IV. You will not be able to drink any liquids during this test. During the test, healthcare providers will take blood samples about every 30 minutes. The blood is then sent to the lab to check your level of ADH.
  • An MRI takes pictures of your head to find the cause of DI. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.


You may need IV fluids to replace the fluids you have lost.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options


You may need to decrease the amount of sodium (salt) you eat. This helps decrease the amount of fluids you lose.


  • If more fluid is replaced than your body can handle, you may have swelling in your brain. Even with treatment, you may be at a higher risk for a blockage in your kidneys or bladder. Your kidneys may begin to stretch from a blockage, and you may develop kidney failure.
  • Without treatment, symptoms may worsen. You may become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to weakness, confusion, headaches, and vision changes. You may also have seizures or brain swelling, and you may go into a coma. Your kidneys and other organs may fail. These problems can become life-threatening. Your child may not grow normally because of his DI.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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