“It goes in, it must go out.” This axiom is known among cult followers of the comedy troupe, Firesign Theatre, as Teslacle’s deviant to Fudd’s law. Gleaning this one catchphrase from the comedy album by Firesign Theatre seems an appropriate, albeit pseudoscientific, way to start an otherwise scientific discussion on diuretics. It is a phrase that is emblematic, however, of your body’s way of keeping everything in balance, especially fluids. Just the right amount of hydration is as important as normal body temperature in allowing all of your physical reactions—both chemical and electrical—to carry on seamlessly.
What does Diurese mean?
Diurese means to simply loose fluid through urination. A diuretic, therefore, is a substance or drug that causes this to happen over and beyond what you can naturally do. There are many conditions that tend to build up your fluids or cause you to retain them, setting up a falling dominoes trail of worsen ...
To diurese or to anti-diurese—that is the question.
So begins a pair of articles about increasing or decreasing the amount of urine output. This first one will discuss anti-diuresis, or the inhibition of urinary output. This is done with drugs called antidiuretics, and to understand them, it is helpful to discuss nature’s way of doing the same thing with a hormone upon which the synthetic drugs are based.
What is Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH, or vasopressin)?
The posterior pituitary gland in your brain stores and releases anti-diuretic hormone (ADH, or vasopressin), which is made in the hypothalamus. This hormone decreases the amount of urine that is produced by your kidneys. At first, this sounds like the opposite of what is desirable, because urinating several times a day is a good indicator that all is well—your heart is pumping blood with enough healthy force to reach your kidneys and a good blood pressure there is obviously in effect. So directly it give ...