Frequent urination: Causes and treatments
If you need to go to the toilet more than usual, it’s known as frequent urination. It usually involves going to the loo more than 8 times a day. You may also wake up frequently at night needing to go. Symptoms often include bladder discomfort and a strong, urgent need to wee.
Frequent urination can be linked to a number of causes including:
Tests for diagnosing urine frequency
First, your doctor may ask questions about:
- How often you go to the loo
- If you have other symptoms such as pain, fever or chills
- Your medical history
- Your family history
- Any medication, herbal remedies, or supplements being taken
- If you’re drinking more than usual
- If your wee is darker or lighter than usual
- If you consume a lot of tea, coffee or fizzy drinks
- If you may be pregnant.
Depending on your symptoms, tests may include:
Urine tests - for presence in the urine of glucose, protein, ketones, or signs of infection.
Blood Tests - to assess kidney function and the presence of glucose.
Urodynamic tests - to test how well the bladder and urethra are functioning by measuring urine pressure and flow rate.
Cystometry test - to measure pressure inside the bladder to see if a nerve or muscle issue is the cause of the problem.
Neurological tests - these can establish the presence of nerve damage or a nerve disorder.
Cystoscopy - This involves an instrument called a cytoscope that allows your bladder to be examined internally.
Ultrasound - These imaging tests can use sound waves to build a picture of inside your body to help identify any problems.
Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) - an X-ray dye procedure that provides pictures of the urinary tract to help identify abnormalities in the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.
How to treat frequent urination
If symptoms are giving you cause for concern, seek medical advice. In some cases, treatment may simply involve altering your daily habits, for example:
- Limiting your fluid intake, especially before bedtime
- Being familiar with side effects of any medication you take
Depending on the root cause of frequent urination, other non-surgical treatment may include:
This may involve limiting certain foods and drinks such as:
Excess weight can put unnecessary pressure on your bladder. A healthy, low fat diet and regular exercise can help reduce weight and decrease frequent urination or incontinence.
Pelvic floor exercises
These exercises can strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and urethra. Exercising for just 5 minutes, three times a day, can help you control your bladder more effectively.
This involves learning techniques that help retrain your bladder, and gradually increase the time between visits to the toilet. It usually takes about 6- 12 weeks to retrain yourself to hold urine longer and to pass urine less frequently.
If these steps are not effective then medication, or sometimes surgical treatment, may be recommended depending on the underlying cause of the problem.