Complications of diabetes insipidus 

The two main complications of diabetes insipidus are dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance. Complications are more likely if the condition goes undiagnosed or is poorly controlled.


If you have diabetes insipidus, your body will find it difficult to retain enough water, even if you drink fluid constantly. This can lead to dehydration (a severe lack of water in the body).

If you or someone you know has diabetes insipidus, it's important to look out for the signs and symptoms of dehydration. These may include:

  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • headache
  • dry mouth and lips
  • sunken features (particularly the eyes)
  • confusion and irritability

Dehydration can be treated by rebalancing the level of water in your body.

If you're severely dehydrated, you may need intravenous fluid replacement in hospital. This is where fluids are given directly through a drip into your vein.

Read more about treating dehydration.

Electrolyte imbalance

Diabetes insipidus can also cause an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that have a tiny electric charge, such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium and bicarbonate.

If the body loses too much water, the concentration of these electrolytes can go up simply because the amount of water they're contained in has gone down.

This dehydration disrupts other functions of the body, such as the way muscles work. It can also lead to:

  • headache
  • fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • irritability
  • muscle pain

Page last reviewed: 25/04/2016

Next review due: 25/04/2018