Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus is a rare condition that may cause you to become very thirsty. It’s particularly difficult to treat, and you may only find ways to slightly ease your symptoms.

Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition in which your body cannot properly balance its water content. The 1 in 25,000 people who have by this condition may develop dehydration and electrolyte imbalances if it is not properly treated.

One type of this condition that’s especially difficult to treat is known as dipsogenic diabetes insipidus.

This article will explore what causes dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, what symptoms you might experience, and what treatment options may be best to address this difficult-to-treat condition.

Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus is a type of diabetes insipidus that involves abnormalities in your hypothalamus cells, which are responsible for regulating thirst. As a result, you become extremely thirsty.

You’re more likely to develop dipsogenic diabetes insipidus if you’ve had brain surgery or a major head injury. Brain tumors, brain infections, and certain mental conditions and medications can also increase your chances of developing this condition.

To diagnose dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, healthcare professionals may perform urine and blood tests to determine the amounts of glucose, sodium, calcium, potassium, and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) present and rule out other conditions.

A doctor may also order an MRI scan to get more information about potential damage to your brain that can affect your hypothalamus or pituitary gland.

Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus differs from other types of diabetes insipidus because it does not affect how your body handles ADH.

ADH (also known as vasopressin or AVP) is produced by your hypothalamus and released into your body as needed by your pituitary gland. Its role is to signal your kidneys to conserve water by returning water to your bloodstream instead of releasing it in urine.

If you have central diabetes insipidus (also known as cranial diabetes insipidus), you’ll have lower-than-expected levels of ADH. This may be due to a brain injury, surgery effects, an infection, or even a tumor. You may be able to find relief from symptoms by taking a synthetic form of ADH called desmopressin to make up for your lower ADH levels.

Alternatively, if you have nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, your body produces enough ADH, but your kidneys do not react as expected, continuing to release large amounts of watery urine.

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus may be due to a genetic mutation, kidney damage, or the use of certain medications. Treatment focuses on finding other ways to reduce the amount of urine your kidneys produce.

During pregnancy, you may experience gestational diabetes insipidus. In this condition, enzymes released from the placenta break down ADH more quickly than usual. This can result in a shortage of ADH in your bloodstream.

While this typically resolves within a few weeks after delivery of the placenta, you may need to take desmopressin to raise your ADH levels and prevent dehydration.

Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus may be caused by hypothalamus damage related to:

  • surgery
  • infection
  • inflammation
  • brain injury
  • tumor

Symptoms of dipsogenic diabetes insipidus can include:

The symptom that is most associated with dipsogenic diabetes insipidus is an unrelenting thirst.

Because you may consume extra fluids in an unsuccessful attempt to quench this thirst, the amount of water in your body is likely to be greater than usual. When this occurs, your body will create more urine to try to release this extra fluid. Your urine may be very pale because of the amount of water in it.

This increased urine production will likely mean that you need to urinate more often, even at night. These additional wake-ups may cause you to feel extra fatigued. You may also have difficulty concentrating or feel moodier as a result.

Doctors have not yet discovered an effective treatment for dipsogenic diabetes insipidus.

Possible ways to manage the symptoms include:

  • sucking on ice chips or sugar-free candy to increase saliva and moisten your mouth
  • taking a small amount of desmopressin before going to sleep to reduce the need to urinate during the night
  • monitoring your sodium and fluid levels to prevent serious dehydration and electrolyte imbalances

Dipsogenic diabetes insipidus is a rare condition in which damage to your hypothalamus makes you feel thirsty. It may be related to a brain injury, a surgery, or even certain mental health conditions.

If you have dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, you may consume more water because of increased thirst. As a result, you may produce more urine and need to urinate more often.

It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re experiencing frequent, strong thirst sensations. They can perform diagnostic testing to rule out other serious health conditions that may be causing this thirst. While treatment options for dipsogenic diabetes insipidus are limited, your doctor may be able to offer suggestions to help relieve some of the symptoms.