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Kidney Diseases

Urine not Concentrated Enough

12/18/2009

Question:

I took my 4 yr old son to the doctor today because he urinates all day long 3 or 4 times an hour. I was informed his urine is not concentrated enough and he needs to see a specialist about his kidneys. Can anyone explain what the NOT CONCENTRATED enough means? I asked the doctor but he was intentionally vague so I have no idea what this means. Thanks

Answer:

When a person drinks a lot, their kidneys put out a lot of water in the urine, creating a "dilute" (watery, clear-looking) urine.  When they don't drink, their kidneys conserve water in the body and make a "concentrated" urine, which often is dark yellow in color.  In other words, making a dilute urine is the way that the kidneys help to get rid of excess water, and making a concentrated urine is how they conserve body water to protect the person from becoming "dehydrated," or dried-up. 

Your son definitely needs to be seen by a specialist to figure out why his urine contains so much water.  There is a condition called "diabetes insipidus" (NOT the same as the regular type of diabetes, in which people have high blood sugars and need insulin), in which a person's kidneys cannot conserve water, causing the person to produce large quantities of dilute urine all day and all night long.  This is sometimes due to lack of a hormone called ADH, and can be treated by giving ADH as a medication.  There are other causes of urinating too much -- and it will be up to the specialist to do appropriate tests, figure out which cause affects your son, and provide the proper treatment.  Good luck, and please feel free to write back and let me know how things turned out. 

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University