Polydipsia causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]



Polydipsia is almost always associated with dehydration due to polyuria (excessive urination), if the condition is prolonged beyond a few hours in those with functioning kidneys.

It is often, and characteristically, found in diabetics, often as one of the initial symptoms, and in those who fail to take their anti-diabetic medications or whose dosages have become inadequate. It is also caused by other conditions featuring osmotic diuresis and by diabetes insipidus ("water diabetes"), and forms part of the differential diagnostic tree for them, as well. Polydipsia is also a symptom of atropine or belladonna poisoning. Another cause can be due to medication (such as diuretics) or inadvertent consumption of caffeine. One who drinks nothing but coffee or soda can be easily misdiagnosed by a medical professional as psychogenic polydipsia, as they may be unaware they are consuming diuretics.

Complete differential diagnosis of causes of polydipsia

(In alphabetical order)

Complete differential diagnosis of the causes of polydipsia

(By organ system)

Cardiovascular Arteriovenous malformations or aneurysms (vascular)
Chemical / poisoning belladonna poisoning,
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Bendrofluazide, Bumetanide, Conivaptan, Frusemide,Hydrochlorothiazide, Lithium, Vasopressin, atropine, belladonna poisoning, caffeine, Amikacin, Amphotericin B,Demeclocycline, Gentamicin
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Cushing syndrome, Primary hyperparathyroidism, Hyperglycemia

Diabetes insipidus, Water intoxication, Hyperthyroidism, Maturity onset diabetes of the young, Diabetes mellitus, Antidiuretic Hormone

Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic Polycystic kidney disease(autosomal dominant), Congenital nephrogenicDiabetes insipidus, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Sickle cell disease, DIDMOAD syndrome, Fanconi syndrome
Hematologic Sickle cell disease
Iatrogenic Radiation therapy
Infectious Disease meningoencephalitis, Syphilis, Tuberculosis, Meningitis, Cysticercosis (cerebral), Post encephalitis status, Tuberculoma of the hypothalamus
Musculoskeletal / Ortho No underlying causes
Neurologic Craniopharyngioma, Pineal tumors, Hypoxic encephalopathy, Pituitary tumour, Metastatic brain disease, Meningioma, Hydrocephalus (obstructive),
Nutritional / Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic Gestational diabetes insipidus, Sheehan syndrome
Oncologic pineal tumors, Craniopharyngioma, Histiocytosis X,Pituitary tumour, Leukemia(acute), Metastatic brain disease, Meningioma
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity Beer potomania, Water intoxication
Psychiatric Psychogenic polydipsia, Beer potomania
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal / Electrolyte Bardet-Biedl syndrome,Bartter syndrome,Cystinosis, Congenital nephrogenicDiabetes insipidus, Hypercalcaemia, Hypokalaemia, Interstitial nephritis, Loken Senior syndrome, Medullary cystic renal disease, Polycystic kidney disease(autosomal dominant), Proximal renal tubular acidosis,Pyelonephritis,Renal failure, Urinary tract infection
Rheum / Immune / Allergy Sarcoidosis, Amyloidosis
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Head trauma, Skull fracture
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Sarcoidosis, Histiocytosis X


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