For people with frequent urination, having a restroom nearby at a moment's notice is almost a requirement. While frequent urination is a common occurrence affecting millions of Americans each year, the condition is not considered a normal part of the aging process and often signifies an underlying medical condition that should be addressed by a physician. Though frequent urination may present differently from person to person, a general rule is that urinating more than usual for a prolonged period of time, or getting up frequently during the night to urinate, are all signs of frequent urination. This condition can also cause anxiety and stress surrounding the ability to get to the restroom on time, especially in social situations. Treating frequent urination is usually relatively simple, once the underlying cause has been determined.
Frequent Urination Symptoms and Causes
While the most common symptom of frequent urination is an increased need to urinate more frequently, other symptoms may also be present. Other symptoms may depend on any underlying issues or conditions, and may help determine the cause of frequent urination. Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is caused by sudden and involuntary contractions of the bladder muscles, resulting in a strong urge to urinate, often without warning. Other symptoms associated with overactive bladder may include passing only small amounts of urine, using the restroom more than eight times per day, or feeling like you can't fully empty your bladder.
Urinary tract infections are another common cause of frequent urination, and may include symptoms such as a burning sensation during urination, feeling like you cant' fully empty your bladder, blood in the urine or darkly colored urine and fever. If you have any symptoms that indicate a bladder infection, talk to your doctor right away to get treatment and prevent complications. Other common causes include structural abnormalities, pregnancy, prostate issues, anxiety, interstitial cystitis (chronic bladder infections) or certain vaginal infections.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Frequent Urination
Diagnosis of frequent urination will most commonly involve a urinalysis to determine whether a urinary tract infection is present, as well as other tests to determine any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or prostate trouble. Structural defects or abnormalities, tumors and cysts are rare, but must also be ruled out if no other immediate cause is found. If overactive bladder is suspected, your doctor may recommend bladder training exercises and suggest medications that can help correct the issue.
Treatment will depend on the cause of frequent urination, and treating the underlying condition usually stops frequent urination from occurring. If a urinary tract infection is causing frequent urination, a week of antibiotics will usually clear things up. For people who have frequent or chronic urinary tract infections, antibiotics may need to be taken more regularly, or over a longer period of time. For mild cases of frequent urination caused by overactive bladder, home treatment may be sufficient to curb symptoms.
Bladder Training and Home Treatment Options
When overactive bladder is the cause of frequent urination, there are certain exercises and treatments that can be done at home to help relieve symptoms. Bladder training involves timing trips to the bathroom with increasing intervals between, doing Kegel exercises to strengthen bladder muscles and learning to control the flow of urine during urination. Your doctor may recommend these exercises and ask you to chart your progress over a few weeks to determine whether more aggressive therapy is required.
Eating a healthy diet and monitoring when and how much liquid you consume at a time are also great ways to help relieve frequent urination symptoms. Chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and even certain medications can all cause overactive bladder and frequent urination. For more ideas on how you can treat frequent urination at home, talk to your doctor.
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Frequent Urination
Frequent urination is very rarely serious, and treating any underlying conditions or making changes to diet can often stop the problem. If frequent urination is accompanied by other symptoms, a trip to the doctor may be in order. Fever, pain in the abdomen, back or side, vomiting, chills, excessive thirst or increased appetite, fatigue, discharge from the penis or vagina, or bloody, cloudy, foul smelling urine all warrant an immediate call to the doctor, as these can signify a more serious problem that requires prompt treatment.
If frequent urination lasts for more than a few weeks or interferes significantly with your daily life, even if no other symptoms are present, you may want to talk to your doctor about overactive bladder. While talking to your doctor about frequent urination may feel uncomfortable, receiving proper care for possible health conditions is important and can help avoid