Diabetes insipidus is a condition caused by not enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH) in the body. ADH is also known as vasopressin. This is a hormone that helps the kidneys keep the correct amount of water in the body. The condition is also called “water diabetes.”
ADH controls how much water is in urine that the kidneys make. ADH is secreted by a small gland at the base of the brain called the hypothalamus. It’s stored in the pituitary gland, and then released into the bloodstream when needed. ADH lowers the amount of water the kidneys make into urine. This helps prevent dehydration. With diabetes insipidus, too much water is pulled from the blood by the kidneys. This causes the body to create a lot of watery urine, and leads to thirst.
The disease has 4 types:
Diabetes insipidus can be caused by conditions such as:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
Babies with diabetes insipidus may show signs such as:
The symptoms of diabetes insipidus can be like other health conditions such as diabetes mellitus. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about your family’s health history. The healthcare provider may ask you about your child’s daily fluid intake, diet, and bowel and bladder habits. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Treatment depends on the cause. Treating the cause usually treats the diabetes insipidus.
Treatment may be done with synthetic ADH. This may be taken as a pill, injection, or nasal spray. Other treatments include medicines that increase the body to make more ADH. This includes NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and water pills (diuretics).
Your child must also drink plenty of fluids. This is to make up for the amount of fluids lost by the body through excess urine and to protect your child from dehydration. You may need to watch your child’s fluid intake and urine output. Your child's healthcare provider will check the amount of sodium in your child's blood often to make sure the medicine dose is correct.
If left untreated, diabetes insipidus can lead to problems in a child such as:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: