Frequent urination is simply the need to go to the bathroom more frequently than usual. It is not similar to urinary incontinence that is characterized by having minimum control over the bladder. Frequent urination can happen accompanied by urinary incontinence, yet it is still not the same.
Frequently, people urinate at least 6-7 times for 24 hours. Frequent urination is characterized by the need to urinate over seven times in 24 hours while consuming around 2 liters of fluid. But people can still differ in terms of frequency of urination, and the majority only consult the doctor when their urination starts to become extremely frequent up to the point when it feels uncomfortable. Moreover, kids have smaller urinary bladders, which means that it’s normal that they urinate more often.
Causes of Frequent Urination
Urination is a comprehensive procedure, which involves different body systems. Several changes can affect the urinary system and make it more active than average. Lifestyle-related causes of frequent urination include consuming vast amounts of liquids, most especially if they are alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. During the night, it can disturb your normal sleep cycle due to multiple urges to urinate. When you often experience frequent urination, there’s a tendency that it could develop as a habit.
Frequent urination can also be an indication of the underlying ureter or kidney complications, urinary bladder disorders, or other health conditions, including pregnancy, diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, and prostate gland complications.
Other causes of frequent urination include the following:
- urinary tract infection
- food and beverages that serve as diuretics
- diuretics, like chlorothiazide, which allows you to urinate liquid out from your body
- mass or tumor in the pelvic area
- bladder cancer
- interstitial cystitis, a kind of inflammation that takes place in the wall of the bladder
- kidney or bladder stones
- overactive bladder or OAB syndrome that causes uncontrolled bladder contractions that result in a sudden urge to urinate more often
- colon diverticulitis, a condition where tiny, bulging outpouching sacs grow in the large intestine wall
- urethral stricture
- sexually transmitted infections or STI, like chlamydia
- radiation in the pelvic area that happens during cancer treatment
- urinary incontinence
Diagnosis and Treatment
During diagnosis, the doctor or any healthcare provider will perform a comprehensive history and physical tests, inquiring the patient about the frequency of his/her urination, as well as other symptoms experienced. The medical professional might ask about the following:
- present medications are taken
- the scheme of frequent urination, such as when it first started, what time it occurs, and what are the changes you undergo
- any significant changes in the consistency, smell, or color of the urine
- the amount of liquid being taken by the patient
- the amount of alcohol and caffeine the patient drinks, and whether or not this has presently changed
Examinations might include the following:
- ultrasound to see the visual image of the patient’s kidneys
- urine analysis to determine any signs or indications of abnormalities
- testing for sexually transmitted infections
- neurological exams to dig up any nerve disorder
- a CT scan or regular film X-ray of the pelvis and abdomen
Men or women can consult urologists for diagnosis of frequent urination, or women can go to a gynecologist.
Besides, urodynamic tests are also performed to evaluate how effective the urinary bladder in holding and secreting urine and assess the present function of the urethra. Standard observations include:
- recording how much urine is produced
- noting the exact time it takes to create a urinary stream
- calculating the capacity to stop urinating mid-stream
To achieve accurate calculations, the medical expert might utilize:
- sensors that record the activity of the nerve and muscles
- monitors to gauge the pressure inside the bladder
- imaging tools to monitor the filling and emptying capacity of the bladder
Before going through any of these tests and examinations, the patients might have to stop consuming a particular medication. Alternatively, they may have to alter their liquid consumption. They have to go to the clinic or testing center with a full bladder.
Treatment for frequent urination depends on the actual cause. If the doctor found out that the purpose of the frequent urination was diabetes mellitus, the treatment option will revolve around stabilizing high blood sugar levels. In the case of bacterial kidney infection, the usual treatment would be a painkiller or antibiotic therapy. If the leading cause is due to an overactive bladder, a drug called anticholinergic might be prescribed. These medications block abnormal and uncontrolled detrusor muscle contractions from happening in the bladder wall. Besides, medication therapy might also be recommended and monitored by a healthcare professional. Training in behavioral techniques might also ease the condition.
Other possible treatments to resolve frequent urination instead of the actual cause include:
- Observing fluid consumption – this treatment will confirm that consuming large amounts of fluid at particular times is the primary cause of frequent urination.
- Bladder training – this specific treatment involves training the bladder to store urine for a longer time. The discipline typically lasts for about 2-3 months.
- Kegel exercise – regular daily activities, usually performed during pregnancy, can empower the muscles of the urethra and pelvis and reinforce the bladder. For exceptional outcomes, perform Kegel exercises 10-20 times each set 3 times daily. Do this for about 4-8 weeks.
- Biofeedback – usually performed together with Kegel exercises, the so-called biofeedback therapy allows the patient to be extremely aware of how his/her body works. This improved awareness can assist the patient in strengthening their control over their pelvic muscles.
What are the normal conditions?
Typically, people urinate for 6-7 times each day. To maintain the normal function of the bladder, as well as support its ability to store and release urine, you need to eat a well-balanced diet and follow an active lifestyle. Both of these can limit or completely prevent frequent urination. This means you need to minimize your alcohol or caffeine intake, as well as skip foods that might irritate or impact the bladder, or serve as a diuretic, like spicy foods, chocolate, and artificial sweeteners.
Incorporating high-fiber foods in your diet can also assist in decreasing constipation. Once constipation is lowered, it can indirectly enhance urine flow in the urethra, since a constipated rectum can place a lot of pressure on the urethra, urinary bladder, or both.
Risk of having Frequent Urination
Several risk factors increase a person’s chance to develop frequent urination. These include:
- Obesity – too much weight can make out additional pressure to the bladder, which could result in impaired pelvic floor muscles and an urge to urinate more often.
- Pregnancy – the developing uterus can also add extra pressure to the bladder during stages of pregnancy. This is why frequent urination is common among pregnant women.
- Menopause – this specific stage in the life of a woman increases her risk of developing frequent urination. When women don’t have their periods anymore, their bodies stop producing estrogen. This is a hormone that can affect the lining of the urethra and bladder, which is why cases of frequent urination are prevalent among menopausal women.
- History of vaginal childbirth – since childbirth tends to weaken the muscles in the pelvic floor, it’s difficult for women who have experienced giving birth to hold their urine for a long time.
In case frequent urination happens on its own, without any underlying disease or medical disorder, it can impact the quality of life among patients. It would be difficult to remain asleep due to frequent urges to urinate and go to the bathroom. Other than this, it might be challenging to socialize and attend events due to fear of frequent urination urges or having to go to the toilet from time to time. Overall, frequent urination can impact the sense of well-being of the patients.
When to seek medical attention
If frequent urination is experienced alongside other symptoms of potential infection, the patient should consult their healthcare provider – it can be a doctor or physician. Some of these symptoms include pain when urinating, fever, and pink or blood-tinged urine. Besides, pelvic pains or painful urination are also other symptoms that need to be taken seriously, together with frequent urination. Patients should also talk to their doctor the moment they inspect any symptoms that add discomfort or disrupt their life quality. Most of the time, there are many medical and lifestyle treatment options to address frequent urination, so patients don’t have to live with these symptoms.
Table of Medications
- Detrol LA
- Ditropan XL