Health Library
Diabetes Insipidus

What is Diabetes Insipidus?

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a condition in which the body makes too much urine. Urinal peeing too much (polyuria) can cause severe dehydration and very high sodium levels.

This condition is usually life long and treated with daily medication.

DI is not the same as the more common diabetes mellitus.


There are several causes of DI:

  • DI can happen after brain surgery, injury or infection.
  • It may be present at birth if the pituitary gland does not form right. (The pituitary gland, which is in the brain, makes a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone. When the pituitary gland does not form right, it cannot make enough hormones, which can cause DI).
  • DI may be inherited from parents.


  • Making large amounts of urine often
  • Being thirsty all of the time, even during the nighttime
  • Would rather drink than eat
  • Urine may look very clear like water
  • Tearless cry
  • Low energy
  • Dehydration − not enough fluids in your body even though you are drinking


DI is treated by giving a medicine called DDAVP (desmopressin). Knowing your child’s pattern of drinking and urinating will help your provider know when dose changes are needed.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if your child:

  • Cannot take the prescribed dose of DDAVP because he or she is sick with vomiting or other illness.
  • Has an increase in drinking / thirst.
  • Is urinating more often.

Last Updated 05/2019

Who Treats This

Who treats this?

Endocrinology specialists at Cincinnati Children's are among the nation’s best at diagnosing and treating endocrine disorders.

Learn More