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Frequent Urination in Men and Women: Causes & Treatments

Frequent Urination in Men and Women: Causes & Treatments

Frequent urination, as you might have understood by its name, is an urge to pass urine more often than you usually require to. In medical world, frequent urgent urination is known by the name of Polyuria. It is uncomfortable and may also lead to sleep disorder. But what is worrying is that frequent urination can be a symptom of some underlying medical condition that may need immediate and proper treatment. Normally a person needs to go to the toilet for urination anywhere between 4-8 times during the day. If you need to go for urination more than 8 times in a day or have to get up multiple times at night, there could be two possibilities- either you are drinking too much water (or too close to your bedtime) or there is something wrong in your health condition. Now the question arises, what causes frequent urination! Let’s find out.

Causes of Frequent Urination

Urination is a complex process. It involves various types of muscles and muscle groups. It also involves the nerves present in brain and spine and of course in and around the bladder. So, it is quite possible that frequent urination can be a symptom of various diseases. Some of the common causes of frequent urination include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostate problems
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Anxiety
  • Certain medicines like diuretics
  • Kidney infection
  • Stroke as well as certain other conditions related to brain and nervous system
  • Inflammation of the bladder wall called Interstitial cystitis
  • Bladder stones

Some less common frequent urination causes include the following:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Radiation therapy

In this article, we would restrict to those causes of frequent urination that are due to the defective day-to-day lifestyle or body conditions such as stress, anxiety, constipation, and such common causes as pregnancy and diabetes. We’ll see why these conditions are associated with frequent urination and what remedies can be adopted to treat the symptoms of frequent urination as well as what steps can be taken to eliminate the underlying reasons for frequent urination. But before that, let’s have an insight into the condition of frequent urination in men and women!

Frequent Urination in Men

Frequent urination in men is a common problem, especially in older men. Here are some facts regarding frequent urination in men:

  • Some of the causes of frequent urination in men include urinary tract infections, kidney stones and prostate problems. Frequent urination is one of the major symptoms of all these diseases.
  • Frequent urination in men may or may not accompany pain and burning sensation. The one without pain can also be a side effect of certain medications or even a symptom of diabetes.
  • Frequent painful urination accompanied by burning sensation can be a sign of one of the many medical conditions like urinary tract infection, prostate problem, sexually transmitted disease or kidney stones.
  • If frequent urination, along with pain, is also accompanied by a discharge from the penis, this may be a sign of urethritis. Most of the cases of urethritis are due to sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • In all such conditions, men should immediately contact a doctor and get diagnosed for the exact underlying cause of frequent urination to get the proper treatment.
  • There are certain conditions where certain symptoms are present that should not be taken seriously as there is nothing to worry about. For example, it is common in men to have a slight leakage at the end of the stream known as the post-micturition dribble. It is in no way an abnormality.

Frequent Urination in Women

When your kidneys make a lot of urine, your bladder will fill up faster and thus, you may have an urge to go to the toilet frequently. However, only a small amount of urine can be passed as compared to the enormous pressure you felt for urinating. In such a case:

  • You may be pregnant. Frequent urination in pregnancy is normal due to enlarged uterus that puts pressure on the bladder.
  • Even after pregnancy and also in some older women, an urge to urinate frequently may occur. This is due to the weakness of the muscles of their pelvic floor. Such women should consult doctor for treatment of such a condition.
  • If you are not pregnant, the cause for frequent urination can be urinary tract infection or bladder infection. In such a case, you may also feel discomfort in your lower pelvic area along with a burning sensation while passing urine. You will again have an urge to go to urinate shortly after leaving the toilet.
  • If along with burning sensation, you also experience fever and chill, this may be a kidney or pelvic infection. You should immediately consult your doctor.

The above conditions are present when you have an urge for frequent urination but you pass only a little amount of urine every time you go to the bathroom. On the other hand, you may pass a lot of urine on every occasion of your visit to bathroom following the urge to urinate frequently.

  • In such a case, your kidneys are making a lot of urine because you may be drinking lots of water or other fluids. Your kidneys are doing their normal job by getting rid of the extra water. There is nothing to worry about in such a case. If your frequent urination urge is hampering your daily life, try to cut back on your fluid intake.
  • However, if you are not drinking excessive fluids and yet passing a lots of urine, there may be certain medical conditions that might be the reasons for frequent urination by you. For example, you may be suffering from diabetes mellitus.
  • In case of diabetes mellitus, you have high levels of sugars in your blood. This excessive blood sugar is excreted by your kidneys into the urine. This sugar in turn, draws lots of water out of your body through the kidneys which then makes up your urine. So, if you notice certain other symptoms of diabetes such as feeling thirsty all the time, gaining or losing weight without any reason, blurred vision, fatigue etc. You should consult your doctor and check out if you have developed diabetes mellitus.
  • Other than diabetes mellitus, frequent urination can also occur due to high calcium level in the blood, diabetes insipidus and kidney disease. These reasons for frequent urination, actually, are common for both, women and men. Consult your doctor and get the proper treatment to cure your frequent urination.

Frequent Urination at Night

When you frequently need to get up and go to the toilet in order to urinate at night, it is called nocturia. Usually, the amount of urine produced by our body decreases at night so that we may sleep for at least 6 to 8 hours without having the urge to urinate.

How much is considered too much urination at night?

  • If you sleep at a stretch for 6-8 hours without waking up to go to urinate, this is an ideal situation.
  • If you go to urinate once every night, that is also considered as normal.
  • However, if you urinate twice or more than that at night, you may be suffering from daytime tiredness.
  • If you get up 5-6 times at night to go to the bathroom, you are suffering from severe nocturia. This disrupts your sleep cycles and can make your life difficult as you may not be able to work or concentrate on anything during the day simply due to lack of sleep at night!

Causes of Frequent Urination at Night

Nocturia or frequent urination at night is most often considered to be a symptom of other medical conditions. Some of such medical conditions are as following:

  • Drinking too much fluid close to bedtime
  • Having drinks containing caffeine or alcohol after dinner
  • Urological infection
  • Tumor in the bladder
  • Enlarged prostate gland or tumor in the prostate
  • Bladder prolapse may cause frequent urination in women. It is when the bladder bulges onto the front wall of a woman’s vagina. This is due to the weakness of vaginal walls, generally after childbirth or due to repetitive straining.
  • Sphincter control problem. A sphincter is a cylindrical muscle that constricts and relaxes to conduct certain physiological functions. Disorder in urethral sphincters that control the exit of urine in the urinary bladder through the urethra may cause frequent urination at night.
  • Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus
  • Pregnancy
  • Diuretic medications
  • Frequent urination at night is also common in such people who suffer from heart failure or liver failure.
  • Frequent urination at night might be a symptom of sleep apnea

Frequent Urination at Night in Older People

Nocturia or frequent urination at night becomes common as a person gets older. Reasons for frequent urination at night in older men can be summed up as following:

  • Human body regularly produces an anti-diuretic hormone which makes the body capable of retaining fluid inside itself. However, as we age, production of this hormone decreases and thus the urge to urine at night gets intense day after day.
  • With aging, the holding capacity of bladder also decreases.
  • Medical problems too increase with age. These medical issues affect the bladder and a person starts suffering from nocturia.

To counter the problem of frequent urination at night,

  • Drink less water and other fluids in the evening and more importantly close to your bed time.
  • Do not have caffeine and alcohol close to your sleeping time.
  • Keep a diary to note how much fluid you drink, how many times you urinate, and how much urine do you pass. This will enable you to rule out the amount of fluid intake as the cause behind your frequent urination at night and you may consult doctor to know the actual cause.

Anxiety Frequent Urination

Can anxiety cause frequent urination? Yes, it does! In fact, there are two types of anxiety urination. One is instant urination which occurs when there is complete terror. It is, in fact, a common symptom of severe phobias or fears. So, when you watch a movie where the villain is shown to urinate as the hero points a gun at him, do not think of it as a fake concept. It is real! If you get scared to that level, the result is instant anxiety urination. But here we are talking about the second type of anxiety urination, that is, frequent urination due to anxiety. Lets talk about its causes.


Causes of Anxiety Frequent Urination

Anxiety may often lead to feelings of stress. And can stress cause frequent urination? Yes, one of the signs of anxiety which leads to further stress is frequent urination. Causes may be as under.

  • Muscle Tension – When you experience anxiety, the muscles of your body become tensed. This builds pressure on your bladder and thus you feel the urge to urinate. If you remain anxious for longer time, the muscles would not relax and the pressure will always be there on your bladder leading to anxiety frequent urination.
  • Fight or Flight Approach– Your body has been adapted to respond to any stressful situation by either fighting or fleeing! When you are afraid or when you are stressed, your body prepares itself either to fight off the situation by flowing enormous energy throughout your body or it prepares you to flee by making your body able to do so. Urination is one of the ways it adopts that prepares your body to flee. By passing urine more often, it tries to keep your body lighter so that you may flee easily when the situation demands.
  • Changes in Body Chemistry– When you are anxious or stressed, all your physiological functions change. You body finds it difficult to digest food and it also changes how it processes nutrients. This may lead to drawing out more water out of your body through urine.

Tips to Combat Anxiety to Get Rid of Frequent Urination

The only way to get rid of anxiety related frequent urination is to lessen your stress. Here are some tips to fight off your anxiety and the resultant stress.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Whenever you feel anxious, try to relax your muscles, especially the abdominal muscles by practicing ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’.

Do this:

  • Stand up straight.
  • Balance yourself properly against both of your legs.
  • Tense the muscle of one of your foot. Do this as hard as you can. Be in this position for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Now release the muscles.
  • Repeat the process with the other foot.
  • Work your body upwards, feet, then thighs, abdomen, chest, neck and finally face. Continue with each of your body muscle, one at a time.
  • This helps in relaxing your body.

In general, you should change your diet and lifestyle so that you do not experience anxiety.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet
  • Reduce intake of caffeine and alcohol
  • Sleep enough and properly
  • Exercise regularly. It may be as simple as walking for 30-40 minutes a day.
  • Breathe deeply. Practice deep breathing initially for few minutes 2-3 times a day. Then see it converting into a habit gradually.
  • Practice meditation
  • Pursue hobbies.
  • Learn something new that you are interested in
  • Talk to friends and family. If you can’t express feelings easily, write them in a diary.
  • Try to recognize the factors that trigger stress in you. Once you identify them, either avoid such triggers or face them in organized manner.

If all the above remedies do not cure your anxiety or anxiety related urination, talk to your doctor.

Constipation and Frequent Urination

Bowel movement and bladder functions are two different activities. So, can constipation cause frequent urination?

To get the answer, you first need to understand that there exists a close relationship between the muscles and nerves that regulate bladder functions and the ones that control bowel movements. Also, both- bladder and the colon- are placed close to each other in a human body. If a person suffers from constipation, a large amount of stool is there in the colon and this may put pressure on the bladder as well. This may in turn lead to various bladder issues. For example, bladder may not fill as much as it should or the bladder starts contracting when it is not supposed to contract. Sometimes, the bladder would not get emptied properly. As a result of all these, there can occur such problems as daytime wetting, nighttime wetting and even urinary tract infections and vesicoureteral reflux. Vesicoureteral reflux means backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys that can give rise to serious kidney diseases.


Now you can say that as constipation may contribute in developing urinary tract infection or kidney disease, it can actually cause frequent urination too because frequent urination is one of the symptoms of urinary infection as well as of kidney diseases.

Eating fiber rich diet and keeping your colon clean are some of the remedies that you can adopt to keep constipation at bay. If your frequent urination is due to constipation related diseases, you need to talk to your doctor to know what is going on in your body and how you can get rid of frequent urination as well as constipation.

Back Pain and Frequent Urination

What is the relation between frequent urination and back pain? Neither back pain can cause frequent urination nor frequent urination leads to back pain! So, what’s the connection? Back pain and frequent urination can occur together emerging out of a common disease! What diseases?

Kidney Problems-

Kidneys are located in the lower back. Kidneys filter the blood to throw out the waste products through urine. Problems that affect your kidneys may cause lower back pain as well as frequent urination. For instance, pyelonephritis kidney infection, kidney stones, or bladder stones, all of these can cause frequent urination as well as back pain. Kidney pain is actually the sharp pain that occurs in the back between the lowest rib and the buttock.

Prostate gland inflammation-

The symptoms of prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland include lower back pain and frequent urination along with flu-like symptoms such as fever. Lower back pain, in such cases, can travel to give you pain in the groin area too.

Pregnancy

– We had earlier known that pregnancy is one of the major causes of frequent urination in women. Pregnancy can lead to lower back pain as well. While the increasing size of uterus puts pressure on the bladder to cause frequent urination, as the fetus grows, its increasing size also puts pressure on the back and leads to lower back pain.

Some of the other less common causes of frequent urination and back pain include bladder cancer, ovarian cysts, overactive bladder and pelvic growth or tumor.

You need to see your doctor in order to know what is causing your back pain and frequent urination together. Based on the diagnosis only, you can be treated for both the conditions. For immediate relief though, you can cut back on your fluid intake, especially before your bed time so that you get rid of frequent urination at night. To relieve back pain, you can rest and use heat or ice pack. However, its better first to talk to your doctor to know the underlying causes of frequent urination and back pain so that nothing leads to further complications in your health condition.

About Sara

Sara is a Boston-based registered dietitian who works with clients to improve their health by optimizing nutrition. You can find her running, sweating in hot yoga, cooking in the kitchen, dining out, or exploring. Eating Food-Mostly Plants, and improving our relationship with food, is the secret to lifelong health in her eyes.

2 comments

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