What is frequent urination?

Frequent urination can be a sign of overactive bladder, drinking too much, urinary tract infection, diabetes, pregnancy, kidney stones, stroke, prostatitis, and more.
Frequent urination can be a sign of overactive bladder, drinking too much, urinary tract infection, diabetes, pregnancy, kidney stones, stroke, prostatitis, and more.

The average person urinates six or seven times a day. However, there is nothing wrong with urinating anywhere from four to 10 times over a 24-hour period. How often you urinate can depend on how much water you drink throughout the day and what other kinds of fluids you drink.

If you find yourself needing to urinate several times throughout the day or more than is normal for you, this could be a sign of frequent urination. You may also find yourself urinating in both larger or smaller quantities than normal, too.

Frequent urination can happen both during the day and at night. Most adults are able to sleep between 6 to 8 hours without waking up to use the bathroom. However, people who have nocturia often wake up during the night to urinate. Nocturia is frequent urination that occurs during the nighttime.

Signs and symptoms of frequent urination

Frequent urination has a number of causes. To help you to decide whether or not to see a doctor, there are some signs that you can look out for.

Urgency

Urgency is the sudden, intense feeling that you need to urinate. This feeling can be overwhelming and you may feel like you can’t delay relieving yourself. Urgency often causes your bladder discomfort.

People with regular bladder function can usually hold in their urine until they reach the toilet. However, urgency may cause you to leak before you get there. This occurrence is known as urge incontinence.

No change in habits

On average, adults urinate seven times a day while drinking 2 liters of water. If you drink more water, it’s normal that you may need to urinate more. However, if you’re having to use the toilet more often and not drinking more water than usual, this is a sign of frequent urination.

You can’t sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is important in maintaining your overall health. Frequent urination can interrupt your sleep or cause you to be unable to sleep through the night.

Your daily life is interrupted

Frequent urination can also make going about your daily life difficult. You may find that everyday activities can become stressful because you need to use the washroom often. If you find that frequent urination is impeding your life, you should talk to your doctor.

Causes of frequent urination

There are many causes of frequent urination. It’s estimated that about 33 million American adults experience it at some point.

Overactive bladder

Most commonly, people who have to urinate frequently have an overactive bladder. This causes you to have sudden, intense urges to go to the bathroom. The bladder may contract unnecessarily even if there’s only a little bit of urine in it, or may be overly sensitive.

Drinking too many fluids

If you find yourself needing to urinate often, you may be drinking too many fluids. What you drink also matters. Certain beverages, like coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks can overstimulate the bladder. Alcohol can also have the same effect.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) will cause you to urinate frequently. Other symptoms of this infection include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Only passing small amounts of urine

Diabetes

People with diabetes tend to feel thirstier than normal. When blood sugar levels increase, so does the feeling of the need to drink more water. This causes the need to relieve yourself more frequently.

Specific conditions

Certain conditions or diseases may cause you to urinate more frequently. These include:

Bladder cancer

In rare cases, one of the main symptoms of bladder cancer is frequent urination paired with blood in the urine.

SLIDESHOW

Urinary Incontinence in Women: Types, Causes, and Treatments for Bladder Control See Slideshow

Diagnosis of frequent urination

If you’re experiencing symptoms of frequent urination, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Your healthcare provider can talk with you about your symptoms. They can help you to understand if your frequent urination is because of something like pregnancy or drinking too many fluids, or if there is a more serious underlying cause.

Your doctor may take a urine sample to check for any infection or blood. Your doctor may order an ultrasound to see how much urine is in your bladder after using the bathroom. Though rare, your doctor could order a cystoscopy if they think something else is going on.

Treatments for frequent urination

There are a few things that you can do to help control your frequent urination.

Avoid diuretics

The first thing you should do is limit your intake of diuretics, or foods and drinks that rid the body of salt and fluid. These include caffeine, artificial sweeteners, spicy food, soda, and acidic fruit or juice.

Pelvic muscle exercises

Urge-suppression exercises and Kegels can help to strengthen your pelvic floor. These exercises can help you to control your urge to urinate.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2020
References
Beacon Health System: "Frequent urination."

Bladder & Bowel Community: "Urinary Frequency."

Edward-Elmhurst Health: "Why do I have to pee all the time?"

Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations: "Dysuria, Frequency, and Urgency."

University Hospitals: "8 Reasons You're Peeing So Much."

Urology Care Foundation: "What is Nocturia?"

Urology Care Foundation: "What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?"