Polyuria: symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment


Polyuria is the medical term for excessive urination. If you don't drink unusually excessive amounts of water, excessive urination may indicate an underlying medical condition. The most common causes of polyuria are diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus . Also, polyuria can be caused by medications, caffeine, alcohol, kidney disease, and electrolyte imbalances.

Urine is formed in the kidneys from water and solids filtered from the bloodstream. Adults should not normally excrete more than 2.5 liters of urine per day. Polyuria occurs when an adult has more than 3 liters of fluid, no matter how often they urinate. Frequent urination is another problem that may or may not be related to polyuria or nocturia (night urination when a person should sleep). …

The prevalence of polyuria is not well documented. Nocturia has been studied more than polyuria. There is evidence that nocturia and polyuria are more common in elderly patients.


Polyuria literally translates to "a lot of urination" and may be the only symptom you are experiencing. However, other symptoms can accompany polyuria, depending on the cause. When the cause is diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus, polyuria is often associated with excessive thirst (polydipsia).

Frequent urination, especially at night (nocturia), is often associated with polyuria, but is not necessary .


There are many causes of polyuria, ranging from simply drinking too much water to serious complications like kidney failure . The most common causes of polyuria are:


Diabetes mellitus is a condition caused by the body's inability to properly control blood sugar levels, either because it cannot produce insulin properly or because it is resistant to the action of insulin. Diabetes mellitus leads to increased osmolarity of the bloodstream due to increased sugar levels.

Imagine that the blood of a diabetic patient seems a little syrupy. The kidneys must work to filter the increased sugar and produce more urine.

Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is completely different from diabetes mellitus and has nothing to do with blood glucose levels. In contrast, diabetes insipidus is directly related to polyuria due to arginine vasopressin (AVP), an antidiuretic hormone .

Central diabetes insipidus is caused by a lack of arginine vasopressin secretion due to a neurological condition. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus occurs due to the inability of the kidneys to respond to AVP. Central diabetes insipidus can be acquired as a result of somatic or traumatic brain injury. Renal diabetes insipidus is usually inherited .

Diuretic drugs

Some medications are designed to make you urinate more often for conditions such as congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. These drugs can cause polyuria if the dose is not correct. Your doctor will adjust the dose of your medicine as needed to avoid unnecessary urination.


Lithium is a drug used to control mood disorders. It is almost completely excreted in the urine and can have a profound effect on the kidneys in patients who take it regularly. Lithium can cause polyuria and polydipsia as a result of lithium-induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus .

If lithium is stopped early enough, as soon as polyuria is noticed, symptoms can reverse without any long-term harm.

However, if polyuria is present and lithium persists, irreversible kidney damage can cause persistent polyuria.

Drink alcohol or caffeine.

Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics . Excessive use of any of them can lead to polyuria, up to the development of dehydration. Alcohol is always a diuretic, even for people who drink alcohol regularly. The diuretic effects of caffeine can diminish over time in people who drink it regularly.


Polyuria is more of a symptom than an independent disease. There is no true diagnosis of polyuria. However, the underlying cause of polyuria can be diagnosed after the symptom appears. The process for diagnosing each cause is different. In either case, the doctor begins by determining when the polyuria begins and whether the polyuria is sudden or gradual .

Diabetes mellitus versus diabetes insipidus

If polyuria occurs after a serious neurological problem, such as a head injury or stroke, it could be a sign of central diabetes insipidus.

Polyuria and polydipsia are signs of diabetes mellitus as well as diabetes insipidus. Both conditions are important and require further testing. The doctor will want to measure the patient's hemoglobin A1C, a blood test that retroactively measures the average level of glucose in the blood for the previous six months.

Your doctor will also likely order a urine glucose test to see if your body is excreting sugar in your urine, which is a sign of diabetes.

Watch out

The most effective treatment for polyuria targets the underlying cause. For example, lithium-induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can potentially be treated by discontinuing lithium supplementation . Diabetes-induced polyuria is likely to improve when the patient's blood glucose levels are controlled.

Polyuria, which cannot be corrected by treating the underlying cause, is often treated with one of several medications, which belong to different classes. The hallmark of polyuria is the dilute nature of the excreted urine: it consists of more water than urine.

Some treatments for polyuria involve the administration of a diuretic, which generally increases urine output by increasing urine output by the kidneys.

Get the word of drug information

If you suspect that you are urinating too much (or too often), it is time to see your healthcare provider , especially if you are also constantly thirsty. Polyuria can be treated and is not dangerous in the short term. However, it is very important to correct this so that any potential underlying disease does not go untreated. Rest assured that early intervention for polyuria, as with any medical condition, is the key to the best management and treatment of your health.

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