Diabetes insipidus is a rare disorder that occurs in about 1 in 30,000 children. It is caused by a disorder of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH or Vasopressin). This is the hormone that helps kidneys in regulating the quantity of water in the body. In normal cases, the pituitary glands release the hormone to cut down the quantity of urine that the kidneys filter and send it to the bladder, which helps to keep us from getting dehydrated.

If your child is diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, it means either there isn’t enough production of the vasopressin hormone, or that the kidneys are unable to respond to the hormone normally. The body will get rid of more water in urine than it normally should, and that can be dangerous to the child. There are two types of diabetes insipidus.

Central Diabetes Insipidus

This occurs when the body of the child does not release or produce enough vasopressin. This type of diabetes is usually caused by a problem in the central nervous system or the brain of the child and is the most common type of diabetes in children. Central Diabetes Insipidus can be easily treated with medication and low income clinics in your locality can help with the treatment.

Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus

This type of diabetes occurs when there is some genetic or other problem blocking the kidneys of the child from normally responding to the vasopressin hormone. This type of diabetes is not so common and can be difficult to treat. Studies show that among all the children with diabetes insipidus, almost 98 percent suffer from the central type and only 2 percent suffer from the difficult to treat nephrogenic variety.

Causes of Diabetes Insipidus in Children

Both the varieties of diabetes can be caused by problems like:

  • Brain injury
  • Damage to pituitary or hypothalamus during surgery
  • Pituitary gland not functioning properly and failing to release vasopressin
  • Hypothalamus producing little vasopressin
  • Tumors
  • Family History


Each child suffering from the problem of diabetes insipidus can experience symptoms differently. However, the common symptoms include:

  • Poor feeding
  • Increased thirst
  • High fevers
  • Diminished growth

The problem will not be apparent at the time of birth. However, it can be diagnosed when the baby starts getting excessively dehydrated regularly. Take your child to a free womens clinic in your area in case you see any such symptoms.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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