Diabetes insipidus causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Omodamola Aje B.Sc, M.D. [2]


Diabetes insipidus is caused by a variety of factors. The causes for each subtype of diabetes insipidus are classically different. It is important to identify these underlying causes of the various forms in order to appropriately diagnose and treat each type.


Central DI

  • Others causes include:[2]

Nephrogenic DI

The most common causes of ADH resistance severe enough to produce polyuria are hereditary nephrogenic DI (in children) and chronic lithium ingestion and hypercalcemia (in adults). Acquired causes are often partially reversible with cessation of the offending drug or correction of hypercalcemia. Other causes include:

Psychogenic DI

Psychogenic DI (also known as dipsogenic DI, primary polydipsia, or factitious diabetes insipidus) is characterized by a primary increase in water intake. Some of the major causes include:

  • Psychiatric illnesses
  • Use of phenothiazine, which can lead to the sensation of a dry mouth
  • Hypothalamic lesions that directly affect the thirst center
  • Infiltrative disease such as sarcoidosis

Gestational DI

Gestational diabetes insipidus is a very rare complication of pregnancy. However, undiagnosed and untreated cases may lead to serious complications in both mother and fetus. The only cause that has been associated with this disorder is pregnancy. It usually causes mild polyuria, which can be treated with desmopressin; if left untreated, it can progress to more severe complications.


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