Diabetes insipidus

Needing to frequently pass large amounts of urine and feeling thirsty are the two main symptoms of diabetes insipidus.

The two main symptoms of diabetes insipidus are often needing to pass large amounts of urine and feeling extremely thirsty.

If you have diabetes insipidus, you may pass pale, watery urine every 15-20 minutes. The amount of urine passed can range from 3 litres (5.2 pints) in mild cases to up to 20 litres (35 pints) in severe cases.

It's also likely that you'll feel thirsty all the time and have a 'dry' feeling that's always present, no matter how much water you drink.

If you need to pass urine regularly and always feel thirsty, your sleeping patterns and daily activities may be disrupted. This can cause tiredness, irritability and difficulty concentrating, which can affect your daily life further.

You may also feel generally unwell and 'run down' much of the time for no apparent reason.

Symptoms in children

Excessive thirst can be difficult to recognise in children who are too young to speak. Signs and symptoms that could suggest diabetes insipidus include:

  • excessive crying
  • irritability
  • slower than expected growth
  • hyperthermia (high body temperature)
  • unexplained weight loss 

In older children, symptoms of diabetes insipidus include:

  • wetting the bed (enuresis) – although most children who wet the bed don't have diabetes insipidus
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling tired all the time (fatigue)


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