Frequent urination

An Overview

The technical name for your problem is frequent urination. In most people the bladder is able to store urine until it is convenient to go to the toilet, typically four to eight times a day. Needing to go more than eight times a day or waking up in the night to go to the bathroom could mean you’re drinking too much and/or too close to bedtime. Or it could signal a health problem. Urinary frequency, or just frequency, is different from urinary incontinence. Most people urinate 6 or 7 times in 24 hours. Urinating more often than this may be referred to as frequency, but everyone is different. Urination is the way the body gets rid of waste fluids. Urine contains water, uric acid, urea, and toxins and waste filtered from within the body. The kidneys play a key role in this process. Urine stays in the urinary bladder until it reaches a point of fullness and an urge to urinate. At this point, the urine is expelled from the body.

However, it can be a sign of kidney or ureter problems, urinary bladder problems or another medical condition, such as diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, pregnancy, or prostate gland problems. Nocturia, for example, is the need to urinate at night, during the sleep cycle. This can be a symptom of diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus.

Symptoms that may need further attention include:

  • Pain or discomfort while urinating
  • Urine that is bloody, cloudy, or of an unusual color
  • Gradual loss of bladder control, or urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty urinating despite the urge
  • Discharge from the vagina or penis
  • An increase in appetite or thirst
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Low back or side pain

Causes of Frequent Urination

Frequent urination can be a symptom of many different problems from kidney disease to simply drinking too much fluid. When frequent urination is accompanied by fever, an urgent need to urinate, and pain or discomfort in the abdomen, you may have a urinary tract infection. Other possible causes of frequent urination include:

1. Diabetes:

Frequent urination with an abnormally large amount of urine is often an early symptom of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as the body tries to rid itself of unused glucose through the urine.

2. Bladder stones:

Bladder stones can develop when your bladder doesn’t empty completely. This causes urine to become concentrated urine, and then it may crystallize and form stones.

3. Pregnancy:

From the early weeks of pregnancy the growing uterus places pressure on the bladder, causing frequent urination.

4. Diverticulitis:

Diverticulitis is the inflammation of small pouches along the intestinal tract. When this happens, the inflamed and enlarged intestines press against the urinary tract, causing a need to urinate more frequently

5. Prostate problems:

An enlarged prostate can press against the urethra (the tube that carries urine out the body) and block the flow of urine. This causes the bladder wall to become irritable. The bladder begins to contract even when it contains small amounts of urine, causing more frequent urination.

6. Bladder Cancer:

The presence of a tumor combined with excessive inflammation caused by cancer, increases pressure on the bladder, which results in a more urgent need to urinate.

7. Interstitial cystitis:

This condition of unknown cause is characterized by pain in the bladder and pelvic region. Often, symptoms include an urgent and/or frequent need to urinate.

8. Overactive bladder:

An overactive bladder usually results from another condition, such as diabetes or prostate cancer.

9. Diuretic use:

These medications that are used to treat high blood pressure or fluid buildup work in the kidney and flush excess fluid from the body, causing frequent urination.

10. Stroke or other neurological diseases:

To nerves that supply the bladder can lead to problems with bladder function, including frequent and sudden urges to urinate.

Some other causes

  • Infection, disease, injury or irritation of the bladder.
  • Conditions that increase urine production.
  • Urethral stricture.
  • Radiation of the pelvis, such as during cancer treatment.
  • Colon diverticulitis, where small, bulging outpouching sacs develop in the wall of the large intestine
  • Changes in muscles, nerves or other tissues affecting bladder function
  • Certain cancer treatments
  • Changes in muscles, nerves or other tissues affecting bladder function
  • Certain cancer treatments
  • Drugs or beverages that increase urine production
  • Drugs or beverages that increase urine production

Diagnosis

  • Urine analysis to identify any abnormality in the urine.
  • Ultrasound for a visual image of the kidneys.
  • Urodynamic tests asses the effectiveness of the urinary bladder in storing and releasing urine, and they examine the function of the urethra.
  • A plain film X-ray or CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis.
  • Neurological tests to detect any nerve disorder.
  • Testing for STIs.

Treatment

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have frequent urination along with any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Painful urination
  • Pain in your side, lower abdomen or groin
  • Difficulty urinating or emptying your bladder
  • A strong urge to urinate
  • Loss of bladder control.

Dietary changes: Products that act like diuretics such as caffeine, tomatoes, alcohol, and spicy foods, increase the need to urinate. Cutting these from your diet will reduce the urge. It is also important to stay hydrated and eat plenty of fiber to prevent constipation, as this increases the frequency of urination.

Bladder retraining: You can help retrain your bladder to hold urine for longer by increasing the intervals between using the bathroom. This can be done gradually, and after a few months, you will notice that you can control your urination better and go less frequently.

Kegel exercises: Regular daily exercises, often done around pregnancy, can strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and urethra and support the bladder. For best results, perform Kegel exercises10 to 20 times per set, three times a day, for at least 4 to 8 weeks.

Biofeedback: Used alongside Kegel exercises, biofeedback therapy enables the patient to become more aware of how their body functions. This increased awareness can help the patient improve their control of their pelvic muscles.

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.

 

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