Understanding polyuria & polydipsia

Polyuria is a condition that induces an excess quantity of urine to be produced. While the daily urine production for an adult can range from 1-2 litres, those affected by polyuria can pass up to 3 litres of urine in a day.

Polydipsia is a condition where the patient suffers from uncontrollable thirst and is commonly associated with polyuria. The excess intake of fluids caused by Polydipsia results in a production of an abnormal quantity of urine.


The presence of polyuria and polydipsia are common indicators of one of two types of diabetic conditions. One such type is called diabetes mellitus, also known as diabetes type-1 and type-2, being the more common forms of diabetes. Another possibility points to diabetes insipidus, a rare form of diabetes that is not related to the body’s insulin levels, but rather the kidneys instead.

The two types differ significantly as diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2 are glycemic in origin, while diabetes insipidus is characterised as a urological disorder. However diabetes insipidus is equally harmful as the large amounts of urine being passed usually wouldn’t be replaced by the appropriate amount of water which leads to severe dehydration in the patients.

An easy way to check for the possibility of polyuria is to take note of your liquid intake throughout the day in addition to the frequency at which you need to urinate.

The effects of polyuria in diabetes mellitus significantly differs from that of diabetes insipidus. If diagnosed with the former, the condition causes the kidneys to draw in more water from the body to remove the heightened blood sugar levels from the body immediately. Therefore the urine of a patient with diabetes mellitus will have a higher concentration of glucose, causing the patient to be hyperglycemic.

Moreover polyuria in diabetes insipidus patients is caused by either an antidiuretic hormone (central diabetes insipidus) or the kidney’s response to an antidiuretic hormone (nephorgenic diabetes insipidus). Unlike the former, the urine of a patient with diabetes insipidus will contain no excess glucose, nor will have hyperglycemia.

Understanding the conditions of both types of diabetic conditions via polyuria is important as those with diabetes mellitus have a constantly elevated amount of blood sugar which is detrimental to one’s health. However, diabetes insipidus differs in that the patients will be unaffected so long as they keep constantly replenishing their liquid intake to not become dehydrated.

Regardless of the type of diabetes, it is essential to seek professional medical help as soon as possible should you suspect you might have polyuria and/or polydipsia. The advice in this article is for informative purposes and should not be taken as medical advice in any way whatsoever.