Treatment for diabetes insipidus

Since diabetes insipidus is related to frequent urination, drinking enough liquid is the primary treatment to prevent dehydration. A person with diabetes insipidus will be referred to a nephrologist (specialist in kidney treatment) or to an endocrinologist (specialist in treating hormone-producing glands disorders), depending on the patient’s type of diabetes insipidus.

Central diabetes insipidus

The damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary glands in the brain causes deficiency of the vasopressin hormone. A synthetic hormone called desmopressin is consumed by the patient through an injection, nasal spray or a pill. Although this does not cure the disease, this medication acts as a replacement for vasopressin, helping patients to manage the symptoms such as decreasing the urination process.

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

As it is caused by the kidneys instead of the brain, desmopressin is not suitable to be used for treatment. In some cases, the disease goes away after treatment of the cause such as switching medications or balancing the calcium and potassium amount in the patient’s body. Other times, diuretics may be prescribed, combined with aspirin or ibuprofen. These medications work by reducing the urine volume.

Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus

There is currently no effective way to treat the disease, as extreme thirst can be countered by drinking more water. Certain measures can be taken to help reduce the urge to drink, for example sucking on sour candies or ice chips. Frequent urination at night can be reduced by taking small doses of desmopressin at bedtime.

Gestational diabetes insipidus

As pregnancy can affect the release of vasopressin, it is treated with desmopressin. An expecting mother’s placenta that degrades vasopressin is unable to do the same to desmopressin. As a result, most women do not require treatment after delivery.


Diabetes is a long term disease and will need to be managed with care. At Regency Specialist Hospital, our Diabetes Care Unit is equipped with specialist and supporting health care professionals who are ready to help you improve your health condition.

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