Diabetes Insipidus| Diagnosis & Treatment

How is diabetes insipidus diagnosed?

Diabetes insipidus is not typically apparent at birth. Often it is diagnosed when parents bring an infant who is dehydrated in to their doctor.


In addition to taking a complete medical history and physical examination, your child's physician may ask about the following:

  • how much fluid your child is drinking
  • how much and what kind of food your child is eating
  • how often and how regularly your child goes to the bathroom (both bowel and bladder)

The following tests help diagnose diabetes insipidus:

  • Urine tests allow doctors to compare how concentrated (or diluted) a child’s urine is.
  • Blood tests to see if the child’s blood is more concentrated than their urine, which could indicate diabetes insipidus.
  • Water deprivation test withholds water from the child for a short period of time so their doctor can observe them. If the child gets dehydrated more quickly than normal, they may have diabetes insipidus. This test should only be performed at a hospital.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an imaging study, is a way for clinicians to check for pituitary abnormalities.

How is diabetes insipidus treated?

Treatment for diabetes insipidus depends on the type and cause of the condition. If caused by surgery, the condition may be temporary and your child should be monitored and kept hydrated until the condition resolves on its own.

Central diabetes insipidus can be effectively treated with a medication called desmopressin (DDAVP). Your child will take DDAVP twice a day, which should allow them to lead a healthy, active life.

Nephrogrenic diabetes insipidus s not as easy to treat, but if they drink plenty of fluids and eat a diet low in salt, children with the condition can still lead relatively normal lives.

Sometimes, other medications can be used to help control the condition.

What is the long-term outlook for my child?

Central diabetes insipidus can be a temporary or a permanent condition, depending on what’s causing it. If the condition is permanent, it’s typically easily treated with medication. Almost all children with central diabetes insipidus lead full, healthy lives.

Children with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can also lead relatively normal lives with proper medical care and management.