Frequent Urination at Night: Causes, Treatments & Preventions

You just cannot hope to have a good night's sleep if you have to get up and pee every hour. Medically called nocturia, frequent urge to urinate at night is more common than you might think. It is not the same as enuresis or bedwetting where a person fails to wake up from sleep to empty the bladder. Nocturia will wake you up from your sleep, so you could go to use the bathroom. It can result in sleep loss, which in turn leads to several health complications. While you may not notice serious issues if you only experience one event per night, you are likely to have daytime tiredness if you wake up two or more times per night. The condition is more common in older adults.

Why Does It Happen?

Nocturia usually affects older adults, but it can affect anyone due to many different reasons. Here are some possible causes of frequent urination at night.

1. You Have Sleep Apnea

You are likely to experience nocturia if you have sleep apnea. This usually happens because the heart muscle is stretched when your body makes an effort to breathe. It may trigger the release of a hormone called atrial natruretic peptide, which can increase urine production.

2. Your Heart Fails to Pump Normally

It happens when you have congestive heart failure and fluid accumulates in your legs. The fluid stays there because of gravity, but it may enter the bloodstream when you lie down at night. This would again increase urine production.

3. You Have Diabetes

You may notice an increase in urine production when your blood glucose levels are on the higher side. This increase would result in disturbing nighttime urination. Managing your diabetes better would help.

4. You Are Getting Older

Some people will experience frequent urination at night as they age. This usually happens because your bladder capacity is likely to decrease with age. Sometimes, older adults experience nocturia because of overactive bladder muscles.

5. You Consume Caffeine or Alcohol

If you have caffeinated and alcoholic beverages in your diet, you may end up dealing with nocturia. This is especially true if you drink late night. It happens because both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics and increase urine production.

6. You Take Certain Medications

You are likely to urinate more often when you are on diuretic medications, such as furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide. If you are taking blood pressure medications, it may help to take them in the morning because they also contain a diuretic.

7. You Have a Neurologic Disorder

Frequent urination at night is a common issue associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease. It may also happen when you have an autoimmune disorder, such as multiple sclerosis. This happens because these disorders make the autonomic nervous system dysfunctional.

8. You Have Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

You may develop nocturia if you have a history of urinary tract infections. People with recurrent or chronic urinary tract infections are at a greater risk of developing nocturia. This may accompany with other symptoms, such as fever, burning, and abdominal pain.

9. You Drink Excessive Fluid

It is quite natural to have an urge to use the bathroom when you increase your fluid intake. If you consume more than 30% of your fluids right after dinner, you may have to wake up in the middle of the night to urinate. Limiting the amount of fluid close to bedtime may help resolve the issue.

How to Treat It

You can usually handle things effectively by taking preventing measures and making some lifestyle changes. You may need to take medications in some cases though. Your doctor may give you anticholinergics to help treat symptoms of OAB – these medications work by reducing bladder spasms.

  • Sometimes, you have to take diuretics to promote urine production, which can cause nocturia. A good idea is to take it early in the day to ensure you do not have to wake up at night to empty your bladder.
  • You may have to take desmopressin if your diabetes is causing frequent urination at night.
  • To treat your enlarged prostate, your doctor may prescribe drugs like finasteride, tamsulosin, or dutasteride.
  • You need to take antibiotics to clear a urinary tract infection.

It is important to mention that your doctor will have to try other treatment options when your nocturia is the result of a neurologic disorder. There are nerves that signal your bladder to contract, but overstimulation of these nerves can cause nocturia. Your doctor may opt for the following to treat the problem:

  • They may opt for an invasive treatment and implant a small device near your tailbone. The device helps regulate impulses to your bladder and prevents nocturia.
  • They may opt for the non-invasive version of the same treatment, but it is usually not as effective as putting a device inside your body.

When other treatment methods fail, your doctor may recommend surgery. This is more common when you have an enlarged prostate.

Is There Any Way to Prevent It?

It is possible to improve your symptoms simply by making lifestyle changes. This involves limiting your fluid intake close to bedtime. You may have to stop drinking alcohol and other caffeinated beverages. It is important that you get enough fluid throughout the day to prevent dehydration.

Here are some other lifestyle changes that may help prevent frequent urination at night:

  • Pay attention to your diet and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Take diuretic medications early in the day to prevent nocturia.
  • Take afternoon naps to avoid dealing with sleep loss.
  • Elevate your legs if edema is causing nighttime urination.
  • Use compression stockings to deal with fluid buildup in your legs. 
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