Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a condition characterized by excretion of large amounts of severely diluted urine, which cannot be reduced when fluid intake is reduced. It denotes inability of the kidney to concentrate urine. DI is caused by a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), also known as vasopressin, due to the destruction of the back or “posterior” part of the pituitary gland where vasopressin is normally released from, or by an insensitivity of the kidneys to that hormone. It can also be induced iatrogenically by various drugs.
Signs and symptoms of Diabetes insipidus
Excessive urination and extreme thirst (especially for cold water and sometimes ice or ice water) are typical for DI. Symptoms of diabetes insipidus are quite similar to those of untreated diabetes mellitus, with the distinction that the urine is not sweet as it does not contain glucose and there is no hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose). Blurred vision is a rarity. Signs of dehydration may also appear in some individuals since the body cannot conserve much (if any) of the water it takes in.
The extreme urination continues throughout the day and the night. In children, DI can interfere with appetite, eating, weight gain, and growth as well. They may present with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Adults with untreated DI may remain healthy for decades as long as enough water is drunk to offset the urinary losses. However, there is a continuous risk of dehydration.
Diagnosis for Diabetes insipidus
In order to distinguish DI from other causes of excess urination, blood glucose levels, bicarbonate levels, and calcium levels need to be tested. Measurement of blood electrolytes can reveal a high sodium level (hypernatremia as dehydration develops). Urinalysis demonstrates a dilute urine with a low specific gravity. Urine osmolarity and electrolyte levels are typically low.
A fluid deprivation test helps determine whether DI is caused by:
- excessive intake of fluid
- a defect in ADH production
- a defect in the kidneys’ response to ADH
This test measures changes in body weight, urine output, and urine composition when fluids are withheld and as dehydration occurs. The body’s normal response to dehydration is to concentrate urine and conserve water, so urine becomes more concentrated and urination becomes less frequent. Those with DI continue to urinate large amounts of dilute urine in spite of not drinking any fluids. Sometimes measuring blood levels of ADH during this test is also necessary.
To distinguish between the main forms, desmopressin stimulation is also used; desmopressin can be taken by injection, a nasal spray, or a tablet. While taking desmopressin, a patient should drink fluids or water only when thirsty and not at other times, as this can lead to sudden fluid accumulation in central nervous system. If desmopressin reduces urine output and increases osmolarity, the pituitary production of ADH is deficient, and the kidney responds normally. If the DI is due to renal pathology, desmopressin does not change either urine output or osmolarity.
If central DI is suspected, testing of other hormones of the pituitary, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is necessary to discover if a disease process (such as a prolactinoma, or histiocytosis, syphilis, tuberculosis or other tumor or granuloma) is affecting pituitary function. Thankfully most people with this form either have experienced past head trauma or simply have stopped ADH production for no apparent reason.
Habit drinking (in its severest form termed psychogenic polydipsia) is the most common imitator of diabetes insipidus at all ages. While many adult cases in the medical literature are associated with mental disorders, most patients with habit polydipsia have no other detectable disease. The distinction is made during the water deprivation test, as some degree of urinary concentration above isosmolar is usually obtained before the patient becomes dehydrated.
Electrolyte and volume homeostasis is a complex mechanism that balances the body’s requirements for blood pressure and the main electrolytes sodium and potassium. In general, electrolyte regulation precedes volume regulation. When the volume is severely depleted, however, the body will retain water at the expense of deranging electrolyte levels.
The regulation of urine production occurs in the hypothalamus, which produces antidiuretic hormone (ADH or vasopressin) in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei. After synthesis, the hormone is transported in neurosecretory granules down the axon of the hypothalamic neuron to the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland where it is stored for later release. In addition, the hypothalamus regulates the sensation of thirst in the ventromedial nucleus by sensing increases in serum osmolarity and relaying this information to the cortex.
The main effector organ for fluid homeostasis is the kidney. ADH acts by increasing water permeability in the collecting ducts and distal convoluted tubule, specifically it acts on proteins called aquaporins which open to allow water into the collecting duct cells. This increase in permeability allows for reabsorption of water into the bloodstream, thus concentrating the urine.
There are several forms of DI:
- Central diabetes insipidus is due to damage to the hypothalamus or pituitary due to a tumor, stroke, neurosurgery or some rather rare causes (which include hemochromatosis, sarcoidosis, histiocytosis, diseases that can form masses in the vicinity like a tuberculoma or syphilis and some genetic disorders). If the hypothalamus is damaged, the feeling of thirst may be completely absent.
- Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is due to the inability of the kidney to respond normally to ADH. There are hereditary causes (90% are due to mutations of the ADH V2 receptor, and 10% mutations of the aquaporin 2 water channel), but these are rare (incidence is around 4 per million live births). Most are male, because V2 receptor mutations are x-linked recessive defects. More common are acquired forms of NDI, which occur as a side-effect to some medications (such as lithium citrate and amphotericin B), as well as in polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and sickle-cell disease, and electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalemia and hypercalcemia. In some cases, no cause is found.
- Dipsogenic DI is due to a defect or damage to the thirst mechanism, which is located in the hypothalamus. This defect results in an abnormal increase in thirst and fluid intake that suppresses ADH secretion and increases urine output. Desmopressin is ineffective, and can lead to fluid overload as the thirst remains.
- Gestational DI only occurs during pregnancy. While all pregnant women produce vasopressinase in the placenta, which breaks down ADH, this can assume extreme forms in GDI. Most cases of gestational DI can be treated with desmopressin. In rare cases, however, an abnormality in the thirst mechanism causes gestational DI, and desmopressin should not be used.
Treatment of Diabetes insipidus
Central DI and gestational DI respond to desmopressin. Also gestational DI tends to abate on its own 4 to 6 weeks following labour, though some women may develop it again in subsequent pregnancies. In dipsogenic DI, desmopressin is not usually an option.
Desmopressin will be ineffective in nephrogenic DI. Instead, the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCT or HCTZ) or indomethacin can improve nephrogenic diabetes insipidus; HCT is sometimes combined with amiloride to prevent hypokalemia. Again, adequate hydration is important for patients with DI, as they may become dehydrated easily.
Homeopathy Treatment for Diabetes insipidus
Keywords: homeopathy, homeopathic, treatment, cure, remedy, remedies, medicine
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution, family history, presenting symptoms, underlying pathology, possible causative factors etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. A homeopathy doctor tries to treat more than just the presenting symptoms. The focus is usually on what caused the disease condition? Why ‘this patient’ is sick ‘this way’. The disease diagnosis is important but in homeopathy, the cause of disease is not just probed to the level of bacteria and viruses. Other factors like mental, emotional and physical stress that could predispose a person to illness are also looked for. No a days, even modern medicine also considers a large number of diseases as psychosomatic. The correct homeopathy remedy tries to correct this disease predisposition. The focus is not on curing the disease but to cure the person who is sick, to restore the health. If a disease pathology is not very advanced, homeopathy remedies do give a hope for cure but even in incurable cases, the quality of life can be greatly improved with homeopathic medicines.
The homeopathic remedies (medicines) given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the homeopathy treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each homeopathic remedy may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit the Materia Medica section at Hpathy.
None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice and guidance.
Homeopathy Remedies for Diabetes insipidus :
Apis., apoc., kali-n., phos., squil., uran-n.
Dr. Manish Bhatia
BHMS, BCA, M.Sc. Homeopathy (UCLAN, UK), CICH (IACH, Greece)
Dr. Manish Bhatia is the Founder Director of Hpathy.com, world’s leading homeopathy portal, serving homeopathy to more than half a million people every month. He is also Editor of Homeopathy for Everyone.
He runs a consultation office at Jaipur (Asha Homeopathy) and is one of the most well known Indian homeopaths globally. He has been practicing since 2001 and is helping Autism and other psychiatric patients since 2006. He was awarded Rajasthan’s foremost Raja Pajvan Dev Award For Excellence in the field of Medicine in 2015.
He has been working as an Asso. Professor of Organon of Medicine at S. K. Homeopathic Medical College since 2002. He was awarded with the prestigious APJ Abdul Kalam State Level Teacher’s Award in 2016. He has also given seminars and webinars in several countries of Europe, Americas and Australia.
He is the author of Lectures on Organon of Medicine Vol. I & II (English, Bulgarian, German editions), which are approved by the Central Council of Homeopathy (India) for BHMS and MD (Hom) syllabus. He is a contributing author to the book “Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research” and co-editor of “The Fireside Book of Homeopathy Tales.”