Diabetes insipidus is a condition in which the kidneys struggle to retain water, resulting in frequent urination. It occurs when the body does not produce enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH), the substance that tells the kidneys to retain water. An estimated 40,000 people in the United States suffer from diabetes insidious.
Symptoms of diabetes insipidus include extreme thirst, excretion of an excessive quantity of diluted urine, a need to get up in the night to urinate, and bed-wetting. The condition may also cause an imbalance of electrolytes, symptoms of which include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, and confusion.
Diabetes insipidus has a number of possible causes, including damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus and defects in the kidney. In rare cases, pregnant women may develop gestational diabetes insipidus, which occurs when ADH in the mother is destroyed by an enzyme produced by the placenta.
Treatment of diabetes insipidus usually involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause. Medication may also be prescribed to control the symptoms. Vasopressin (ADH) and analogs are sometimes used to treat diabetes insipidus.