Got to go often, huh? This is a problem both men and women have, thought many people don`t even recognize it as a problem, they just go whenever they feel they need. The exact moment you realize this is becoming a problem is when you start developing a fear of being too far from the nearest bathroom.
But how do we know how often is too often? Typically, an adult male or female will go to the bathroom between 4 and 8 times a day. If you notice you are shooting past the 8 times mark, it may indicate a health problem, or if the urge is waking you up from your bed at night; keep in mind, though, that frequent urination can also be caused by drinking excessive amounts of fluid and the urge to urinate can wake you up if you drink too much fluid before going to bed.
It is also important to note the difference between frequent and urgent urination. Urgent urination is characterized by an overwhelming urge to go immediately! Urgent urination is usually accompanied by stomach pain, discomfort or cramps.
Common Causes Of Frequent Urination
There are many different causes of “having to go often,” there are those benign we already mentioned (drinking excessive amounts of fluid) and there are those that indicate a health problem. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Alcohol and caffeinated drinks– they say that when you drink beer you don`t buy it, you rent it and if you`ve ever tried drinking it you know what I`m talking about! Alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics. Diuretics are substances that promote the production of urine and increase the secretion of water from our body (this is why our head hurts after a long night of drinking – our body loses fluid and becomes dehydrated!).
- Diabetes – diabetes is a common term for a group of metabolic diseases linked to high blood sugar over longer periods of time. So why do people with diabetes urinate more often? – Well the body is trying to rid of the excess sugar through urine. This is why long and frequent urination is often an early symptom of diabetes.
- Enlarged prostate – Prostate is a gland which produces the fluid that carries the sperm during ejaculation. It surrounds the urethra (the tube which carries the urine out of the body), and puts pressure on it when it gets enlarged, in some instances blocking the flow of urine. This pressure can irritate the bladder (which is located above) causing it to contract and create the urge for urination even when there is little urine in it.
- Pregnancy – obviously, this is a completely normal occurrence since the growing uterus presses the bladder and cause more frequent urination, especially in the third trimester.
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – UTI is an infection of the lining of the urethra due to byproducts of an infection. This infection will irritate the bladder and cause a frequent urge for urination.
- Interstitial Cystitis – we already said that UTI is commonly caused by bacteria, but interstitial cystitis is diagnosed when no clear cause of an infection has been identified. The infection will also cause bladder irritation and a frequent urge to urinate.
- Nerve damage – nerves control everything that goes around in our body and a wide range of neurological diseases (damage to the nerves) can lead to problems with bladder function. One of the most common neurological damage is a result of a stroke.
- Anxiety – this is a lesser known cause of frequent urination but it can be linked to it. There is even a term coined especially for this condition – Anxiety Urination. There are many theories as to why there is a link between the two, most common two are muscle tension (in anxiety our muscles are very tense which can put pressure to the bladder and cause the urge to urinate) and fight or flight response (anxiety can cause that fight or flight state and our body may feel the need to relieve the “added weight” and empty the bladder… sounds ridiculous, I know).
- Vaginal infection – vaginal infection can also create the urge for a frequent urge to urinate.
- Cancer or bladder tumors – these are the least common causes of frequent urination, but they need to be mentioned as well. Cancers and tumors can, as they grow, take up more and more space and cause this urge.
Frequent Urination Diagnosis
As we said at the beginning of the article, “frequent urination” can also be a relative term (some people urinate more and some less frequently), which is why you should turn to your doctor if you notice something is wrong.
Believe it or not, there are a whole range of different tests you can undergo prior to getting a diagnosis. Those tests are:
- Urine test– microscopic analysis of your urine will allow the doctor to take a look at all the components of the urine and determine if there is something wrong, is there an infection of some sort etc.
- Cystoscopy – cystoscopy is a procedure which allows the doctor to look at the inside of your urethra and bladder using a device called a cystoscope.
- Cystometry – this is a test which measure the pressure inside of the bladder to tell how well the bladder holds or releases urine.
- Ultrasound – ultrasound is a common test that uses ultra sound waves to visualize soft tissues in the body. It will help detect any visual anomalies on the bladder.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
Different people react differently to this urge to urinate constantly – some do nothing and just “go with the flow” while others decide to seek medical help. But, when exactly should you seek professional help:
- If you urinate so frequently it is affecting your daily life
- If you wake up during the night to urinate (when you haven`t taken any fluid before going to bed)
- If you notice:
- Blood in your urine
- Unusual smell
- Unusually cloudy urine
- If you start experiencing pain, loss of appetite, vomiting or fever
Addressing The Symptoms And Treating Frequent Urination
The treatment of this condition will largely depend on its underlying cause, which is why you should stick to the doctor`s recommendations. The doctor will usually:
- Prescribe antibiotics for an infection
- Recommend changing your diet and regulating blood sugar levels if you`ve got diabetes
- Advise fluid intake regulation
- Bladder retraining – where you gradually increase the interval between urination
- Or Kegel exercises – these exercises are meant for strengthening the muscles around the bladder and urethra to improve the bladder control