What is Water Diabetes?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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Water diabetes, also known as diabetes insipidus, is a rare condition that results in excessive urination. A person with water diabetes is constantly thirsty, causing him to consume large quantities of water or other fluids. The overconsumption of water may result in a person wetting his bed or having to get up several times at night to use the bathroom. The condition, which in the majority of instances is not life threatening, may be caused by a variety of things such as infection, disease, certain medications, or a disruption in the kidneys. Treatment depends on the severity of the ailment.

Symptoms of water diabetes may include frequent urination and excessive thirstiness. A person with the condition may urinate more than four gallons (about 16 liters) a day. Other symptoms typically include dry skin, constipation, and frail muscles. In addition, a person with diabetes insipidus may become dizzy or feel faint because of dehydration or grow tired from having to constantly urinate at night.


One of the most common types of water diabetes is central diabetes insipidus, also referred to as pituitary diabetes insipidus or neurogenic diabetes insipidus. This type of diabetes insipidus occurs when there is a deficiency of vasopressin, the hormone responsible for lowering the concentration of urine in the body, which is found in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland can become damaged for various reasons, including inherited diseases, a blow to the head, and infection. To treat this type of water diabetes, a person may take desmopressin, a synthetic hormone that comes in the forms of a pill, nasal spray, or injection.

Dispogenic diabetes insipidus is similar to central diabetes insipidus. This condition decreases the production of vasopressin, while increasing the creation of urine. The overabundance of fluid may result in water intoxication, a condition in which the sodium level of the blood is lowered, which may cause brain damage. Presently, no effective cure for dispogenic diabetes insipidus exists.

Another type of diabetes insipidus is nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. This occurs when a person’s kidneys are unresponsive to vasopressin and often is the result of a chronic disorder or inherited genetic disease. The condition is often treated with a drug called hydrocholorothiazide. In some instances, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is not treatable because the cause cannot be determined.

Pregnant woman are also susceptible to a type of water diabetes called gestational diabetes insipidus. This occurs when an enzyme during pregnancy kills vasopressin. In the majority of cases, gestational diabetes insipidus can be curbed with desmopressin.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

@bear78-- As far as I understand though, people with water diabetes don't have high blood sugar. Am I wrong?

Post 2

@bear7-- It's true that diabetes mellitus, which is responsible for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, will also cause increased thirst and urination. Since diabetes mellitus is more common, I think a misdiagnosis is possible if all of the necessary tests have not been done at the time of diagnosis. But keep in mind that water diabetes is completely different than type 2 diabetes and is caused by different factors.

The only way to know whether you have diabetes insipidus or water diabetes is to have a urine test and a fluid deprivation test done. The former will show the concentration of the urine. Urine with large amounts of water and low concentrations of waste is one of the diagnosing factors of water diabetes.

A fluid deprivation test will also make it clear the cause of the diabetes.

Post 1

I have type two diabetes and after reading this article, I feel scared because I have these symptoms. I'm always thirsty. I drink a lot of water and urinate maybe once every half an hour to hour. I wake up at least twice at night to urinate.

I told my doctor about it and he said that diabetics generally do drin more water and urinate more. Apparently, our bodies need more water to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream. But I don't understand why this is because my diabetes is under control. I take my medications and check my blood sugar readings. It seems to be fine.

Could I have water diabetes? How can I go about having this diagnosed if so?

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