On Your Health

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Why Am I Peeing So Much?

The need to constantly go to the bathroom and urinate is a common annoyance many adults wrestle with each day. Whether it’s during the day at work or at home at night when you’re in bed, frequent urination can strike at any time. 

If you fall under this category and have questions about why you’re peeing so much, then this blog is for you. We’ll explore common causes of frequent urination, how certain medications increase your trips to the bathroom and what you can do to limit frequent urination at night.

How many times a day should you urinate?

Urine outflow is tied to fluid intake. On average, six to eight trips to the bathroom is normal. This number can vary for people who drink more water – urinating 10 times may be normal for them. It can also be lower for people who don’t consume many fluids.

For tea or coffee drinkers, you may find yourself urinating more often due to caffeine. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which encourages your kidneys to eliminate more water through urine.

It’s also worth noting each person’s bladder is different. In general, a bladder can store anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of urine. The difference between a cup of urine may result in several more trips to the bathroom.

What causes frequent urination?

Here are some of the more common causes of frequent urination. While some of these causes are behavioral, you should contact your doctor to determine if an underlying medical problem is the culprit.

  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have more glucose in their blood than normal. The body can’t re-absorb this extra sugar, so it ends up as a waste product in your urine. During this process, the glucose draws more water that ultimately increases urine volume. A cycle then emerges – the more you urinate, the more dehydrated you become, which causes you to drink more water.
  • Dietary triggers: Foods with caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate) along with spicy foods, certain acidic foods and foods with artificial sweeteners can all act as bladder irritants that make you urinate more.
  • Enlarged prostate: This golf ball-sized gland can become enlarged and press on the urethra. The pressure disrupts the flow of urine and can cause the bladder to contract even when it isn’t full.
  • Hormone production: Most people sleep through the night without having to use the bathroom due to antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a chemical that limits the amount of water released by the kidneys to concentrate urine. Lower levels of ADH can lead to more urine production and thus more trips to the bathroom.
  • Interstitial cystitis: This condition is caused by inflammation to the bladder wall, which creates a stiff bladder that can’t hold as much urine. 
  • Kidney stones: When kidney stones move to the lower urinary tract near your bladder, they can create pressure that causes frequent urination.
  • Medications: Certain medications can relax the bladder, cause bladder contractions or lead to excessive fluid production by the kidneys, all of which are responsible for frequent urination. Talk to your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications that may make you urinate more.
  • Overactive bladder: As the name suggests, the bladder contracts even when it isn’t full. This causes you to empty your bladder more frequently than normal.
  • Pregnancy: Between excess fluid and the positioning of the fetus on the bladder, it’s common for women to use the bathroom more during a pregnancy. These trips may be more frequent during the first and third trimester – during the second trimester, the position of the uterus takes pressure off the bladder.
  • Stroke: Your bladder relies on both muscles and nerves to hold and release urine. After a stroke, neurotransmitters that tell the bladder when to empty can be damaged.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): This type of infection can impact the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Inflammation from a UTI causes swelling and inflammation in the tissues of the urinary tract.

Aside from frequent urination, people may also suffer from polyuria, a condition in which you produce too much urine volume (more than 3,000 mL a day or about 13 cups). Polyuria occurs when the kidneys filter too much water, either due to increased volume (drinking alcohol or excess water) or a medical condition such as diabetes. 

What medications cause you to urinate frequently?

Some medications cause problems with the bladder itself or with other parts of the urinary system such as the urethra. 

  • Alpha blockers: These medications relax the muscles of the bladder neck (where the bladder meets the urethra), which causes you to urinate more frequently
  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressants alter the bladder’s ability to fully empty, which increases the number of times you need to urinate.
  • Antihistamines: These common over-the-counter drugs used to treat allergies can actually relax the bladder.
  • Benzodiazepines: These drugs cause urinary tract muscles to relax and make it harder for the bladder to fully empty.
  • Calcium channel blockers: This type of medication decreases bladder contractions, which doesn’t allow urine to empty fully when you use the bathroom.
  • Diabetes medications: These drugs are designed to help your kidneys excrete more glucose to regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, more fluid is excreted through your urine.
  • Diuretics: Known as water pills, diuretics release sodium into your urine to remove water from your blood. While this helps reduce blood pressure and treat heart failure, it also increases your need to urinate more frequently.
  • Mood stabilizers: Lithium, a mood stabilizer to treat people with bipolar disorder, lowers the concentration of urine, thus making you urinate more frequently. 
  • Opioids: Like antidepressants, opioids can affect the bladder’s ability to fully empty. 

How to stop frequent urination at night

Waking up in the middle of the night to urinate isn’t just a nuisance – it’s an actual medical condition. Nocturia occurs when you have to urinate more than once when you’re sleeping.

Nocturia is more common as you age – nearly two-thirds of older adults deal with this at least a few nights per week, according to Harvard Health – and for people who drink large quantities of fluids. But it’s also associated with several medical conditions that involve the bladder such as bladder obstruction, bladder spasms, bladder infection, bladder inflammation and interstitial cystitis. 

Some people may also experience nocturnal polyuria, a condition that produces a large urinary output exclusively at night. In most cases, your body retains too much fluid during the day. Once you get in bed, fluid from your lower extremities travels toward the center of your body where the kidneys process it as urine.

In either case of nocturia or nocturnal polyuria, there are several things you can try to limit the amount of times you wake up.

For starters, limit your fluid intake at night and don’t drink anything at least two hours before bed. A few sips of water to take any medications is fine, but a glass of water any time near bedtime will increase your chances of having to wake up. This is especially true for alcohol and caffeine.

If possible, take medications that increase urinary frequency during the day. For example, diuretics for high blood pressure or kidney problems can be taken six hours before bedtime.

During the day, elevate your legs when sitting to prevent fluid from accumulating in your feet, ankles and lower legs. Wearing compression socks can also help reduce swelling and fluid accumulation.

For people who need prescription strength relief, a nasal spray sold under the generic name desmopressin acetate can help treat nocturnal polyuria.

In the event you think you’re peeing more frequently than normal, contact your primary care physician. They can refer you to a urologist or urogynecologist who can then perform an ultrasound or other imaging to help diagnose the problem.


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