Most commonly known as gestational DI, gestagenic diabetes insipidus is a rare disorder that happens in pregnancy, usually in the third trimester.
This condition can make you so thirsty you drink many glasses of water a day. As a result, you might go to the bathroom more than once or twice an hour. This isn’t a result of pregnancy but of diabetes insipidus, which is sometimes called "water" diabetes. It has symptoms like other forms of the disease, but isn’t related.
Sherri Buffington knows right away when she's stressed out.
"I'll start to feel hot," she says. Once the warmth floods her body, she tests her blood sugar. It's almost always high.
Buffington isn't imagining the connection. Stress is known to spike blood sugar, also called glucose. "It's a very common occurrence," says Kevin Pantalone, DO, staff endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. "Stress can increase levels of hormones in the body, particularly cortisol, which can make blood sugar rise."
It's rare, but sometimes during pregnancy, the placenta can make an enzyme that destroys vasopressin, a hormone that controls how much water you retain. The lack of it causes heavy thirst and frequent urination. Gestagenic DI can also lead to lack of control when you pee and to bedwetting.
In some cases, the disease runs in the family. In others, it's a problem with the way your body controls thirst. And sometimes the cause isn’t known.
What Are the Symptoms?
Most pregnant women make many trips to the bathroom at night due to pressure the growing baby puts on the bladder. But if you go a lot and have an intense thirst, it could be gestagenic diabetes.
Other symptoms include nausea, dizziness, and weakness.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Your doctor will test your urine to see if it’s light and diluted or concentrated and yellow. He may also send your blood out for lab tests.
How Is It Treated?
The doctor may opt not to treat gestagenic DI. If that’s the case, he’ll likely ask you to come to the office a lot. He’ll make sure your body doesn’t retain too much fluid. You'll also need to keep liquids with you so you don't get dehydrated.
You may need to take desmopressin, a man-made form of vasopressin. It usually comes as a nasal spray. This treatment helps control urine. It also stops bedwetting by letting your body to absorb and manage water from your kidneys.
If your body's thirst control is the cause of gestational DI, your doctor will prescribe other treatments.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
See your doctor if you’re pregnant and have all of these symptoms:
You make frequent trips to the bathroom, especially at night.
You have a heavy thirst.
You drink much more than your normal daily amount.
Most cases go away 4 to 6 weeks after you give birth. But it may return with future pregnancies.