What are the Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus (DI)?

Anju Bisht

, Health A2Z


Thirstiness and frequent urination is a common problem in diabetes, where extreme thirst and the passing of vast amounts of urine is a characterized symptom of Diabetes Insipidus. We will subsequently discuss the condition symptoms in detail.


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Diabetes Insipidus is a rare condition that leads to an imbalance of fluid in the body. The cause is the insufficiency of a hormone (vasopressin) produced by the brain that directs the kidney for water retention. As there is a loss of too much water, as an effect, one might become thirsty.


In the worst-case scenario, an individual may pass up to 30 litres of urine per day. Untreated people may end up having dehydration, eventually, into a coma due to the concentration of salts in the blood.


What are the symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus?


There is nothing wrong with the blood glucose level of people with this condition. However, kidneys are not able to balance fluid in the body. In the following, we will understand the signs and symptoms of the condition by considering the various categories (reference from Medscape).


Category 1:  Predominant manifestations of DI


This category involves three components:


  • Polyuria: Polyuria is defined as the abnormal production and passage of a large amount of urine which is more than 2.5 L or 3 L over 24 hours in adults.


  • Polydipsia: This condition is characterized as the feeling of extreme thirstiness. Do not get confused with Polyuria and Polydipsia. Polyuria might appear in conjunction with polydipsia though it’s possible to have one without the other.


  • Nocturia: The condition where you will have disturbed sleep or you will wake up during sleep because you have to urinate.


Category 2: Trauma or surgery to the region of the pituitary and hypothalamus


This category involves the most common form which is the central Diabetes Insipidus after trauma or surgery to the region of the pituitary and hypothalamus. This might manifest 1 of the following 3 patterns:


  • Transient.


  • Permanent.


  • Triphasic (observed more often clinically).

Category 3: Infant with DI


The most obvious sign and symptoms in infants with  include:


  • Hyperthermia: The condition in which an individual has a body temperature elevated beyond normal due to failed thermoregulation. Often described as overheating.


  • Irritability.


  • Poor growth in an infant with Diabetes Insipidus.


  • Crying.



  • Poor feeding.


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Category 4: Children with Diabetes Insipidus


The following signs and symptoms are predominant in children:


  • Enuresis: It is commonly known as bedwetting. It is a condition of repeated inability to control urination.


  • Anorexia: An eating disorder where a child might have an intense fear of gaining weight.


  • Linear growth defects.


  • Fatigability.


Category 5: If Causes may damage anterior pituitary or hypothalamic centers


The condition that causes Diabetes Insipidus, if damages the anterior pituitary or hypothalamic centers then the symptoms are as follow:


  • Excessive fatigue.


  • Diminished libido or erectile dysfunction.



  • Dry skin.



Category 6: Severity and chronicity of DI


The Physical findings may vary with the severity and chronicity of DI. These findings may be entirely normal or may include the following:


  • Hydronephrosis with pelvic fullness, flank pain or tenderness, or pain radiating to the testicle or genital area


  • Bladder enlargement


  • Dehydration if the thirst mechanism is weakened or access to fluid is restricted



The above categories based symptoms are the problems to look, if suspicious about Diabetes Insipidus. If you note any of the following symptoms, immediately get help from a specialist doctor.


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