How often do you go to a washroom? Most people urinate approximately eight times per day and just once a night if at all. If the frequency is more than that, it could be a sign of concern. Frequent urination should not be ignored as it may be a sign of an underlying condition. However, frequent urination during pregnancy is a common symptom and is not a health problem unless it is due to an infection. Also, if you have excess fluids/caffeinated beverages or are on medications such as diuretics, then you can suffer from frequent urination.
Here are a few common causes of frequent urination and why you should not ignore this symptom.
1. Uncontrolled diabetes: Frequent urination and excessive urine volume (polyuria) is an early symptom of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is because, there is excess glucose in the blood, which the body tries to eliminate and puts pressure on the kidneys to excrete it through urine. This is the reason why people with high blood glucose feel the urge to go to the washroom often.
2. Interstitial cystitis (IC): Commonly known as painful bladder syndrome, IC is a chronic condition that can be managed. It is common in women and is characterized by chronic pelvic, which gets worse when the bladder gets full. The other common symptoms include nocturia (urge to urinate at night), frequent urination and urgency. The condition significantly affects the quality of the life.
3. Urinary tract infection (UTI): It is one of the most common causes of frequent urination. Women are at a higher risk of suffering from UTI than men simply because of the fact that the urethra (the tube connecting the urinary bladder to urinary orifice) is shorter in women and hence, bacteria need to travel a shorter distance to cause infection in the urinary tract.
In some cases, it shows no symptoms (asymptomatic) and in some, it may present with symptoms such as pain during urination, burning sensation, itching and the inability to empty the bladder.
4. Kidney disease: The urge to urinate more often, especially at night, could be a sign of kidney disease. An infection of the kidneys can damage the organ and impact its filtration process, which can cause frequent urination. Hence, consulting your doctor is the right idea so as to know the right cause. In some cases, kidney disease could be due to an underlying urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostate in men.
5. Prostate problems: An enlargement of the gland can lead to frequent urination, which is one of the common causes in men, especially elderly men. In some cases, an infection of the prostate gland (known as prostatitis) or cancer of the prostate gland can also increase the urge to urinate.
An enlarged prostate is common in men above 50 years. The enlargement of the prostate puts pressure on the urinary bladder which in turn lead to urinary frequency. In addition to frequent urination, it can lead to symptoms such as nocturia (urge to urinate at night) and the feeling of a full bladder every time.
6. Overactive bladder: An overactive bladder is another common cause that can make you visit washroom more often than normal. It is a condition that causes sudden contraction of the urinary bladder and hence, causes an urge to urinate. It can also lead to urinary incontinence in some cases. Although there is no known cause of the condition, there are few treatment options that can help you deal with it.
7. Bladder cancer: Cancerous growth in the tissues of the bladder can lead to an increase in the urge to urinate. In addition to frequent urination, it can show symptoms such as blood in the urine and pain in the pelvic region or lower abdomen. If you experience any of these signs, do not ignore but consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
1. Lukacz ES, Sampselle C, Gray M, Macdiarmid S, Rosenberg M, Ellsworth P, Palmer MH. A healthy bladder: a consensus statement. Int J Clin Pract. 2011 Oct;65(10):1026-36.
2. Cho YS. Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome: A Urologic Mystery. Int
Neurourol J. 2016 Mar;20(1):3-4.
3. Zhou J, Kelsey KT, Smith S, Giovannucci E, Michaud DS. Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Risk of Bladder Cancer in Men: Results From the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Urology. 2015 Jun;85(6):1312-8.
4. Golbidi S, Laher I. Bladder dysfunction in diabetes mellitus. Front Pharmacol. 2010 Nov 16;1:136.
5. Flores-Mireles AL, Walker JN, Caparon M, Hultgren SJ. Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 May;13(5):269-84
6. Keith Wrenn. Chapter 181. Dysuria, Frequency, and Urgency Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition.