Frequent urination is an inconvenient condition that can affect both men and women. It can disrupt one’s normal routine, interrupt the sleep cycle, and it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Most people urinate between 6 and 7 times over a 24-hour period. Urinary frequency can be defined as needing to urinate more than 7 times in a period of 24 hours while drinking about 2 liters of fluid.
Note: Frequency is not the same as urinary incontinence, where there is leakage of urine.
What causes frequent urination?
There are a number of different conditions that may cause frequent urination. The most common causes of frequent urination vary based on age and gender. They range from minor to serious. These causes include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): This is the most common cause of frequent urination. The inflammation caused by the infection reduces the bladder’s ability to hold urine.
- Diabetes: Frequent urination can be a symptom of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
- Prostate problems: This is a major cause of frequent urination in men. An enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine, causing the bladder to become irritated and contract.
- Pregnancy: Frequent urination is a harmless symptom of most pregnancies. As the uterus and baby grow, they place pressure on the bladder, causing the need to urinate.
- Interstitial cystitis: A condition that causes pelvic and bladder pain and the feeling of having to urinate constantly.
- Diuretics: Medicines used to treat other conditions such as high blood pressure can cause frequent urination as excess fluids are flushed from the body.
- Stroke: A stroke can damage nerves in the bladder and lead to frequent urination.
- Excessive alcohol or caffeine use.[the_ad id=”1217″]
- Bladder cancer: Frequent urination is a rare symptom of bladder cancer. A more common symptom is blood in the urine.
- Pelvic tumor: Another rare cause of frequent urination.
- Overactive bladder syndrome: A common cause of the frequent urgent need to urinate.
- Vaginitis: An inflammation of the vagina that causes the frequent need to urinate for women.
You should see your doctor immediately if your frequent urination is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Back pain
- Blood in your urine
- Discharge from the vagina or penis.
How is frequent urination treated?
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause.
If the consultation leads to a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, treatment will aim to keep high blood sugar levels under control.
For a bacterial kidney infection, the typical course of treatment is antibiotic and painkiller therapy.
If the cause is an overactive bladder, a medication known as an anticholinergic may be used. These prevent abnormal involuntary detrusor muscle contractions from occurring in the wall of the bladder.
If needed, medication therapy will be prescribed and monitored by a physician.
Training in behavioral techniques may also help.