Getting Up To Pee At Night? How Often Is Too Often?

Getting up in the night now and then is nothing to worry about. It happens. But, if you are getting up 2 or more times a night, you may have something called "nocturia" which can be messing up your restorative sleep, impairing daytime functioning and mood. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. In a recent study of women over 40, a third reported experiencing nocturia. Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.35.18 AM Your nighttime bathroom trips may be due to diuretic medications or drinking too many fluids late in the day but it could also be far more serious. Nocturia can be a symptom of diabetes or heart failure. With diabetes, excess sugar doesn't get reabsorbed in the kidneys and this draws water, increasing your need to pee. In the case of heart failure, you feel the urge to go because excess fluids collect in the kidneys at night. You can also develop nocturia if you have recently experienced a urinary tract infection or a bladder disorder. Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.33.38 AM Although there is still a lot to learn, it appears that there may be a link between nocturia and overactive bladder or as it is sometimes called "urge incontinence." This is caused when the bladder's detrusor muscle involuntarily contracts at inappropriate times, like when the bladder is only partially full. This results in the urge to go at any time of day. It is also far more common in women than in men. If you are experiencing nocturia, start by limiting fluids and bladder irritants like caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods after dinner. Skip feminine wipes that have a fragrance as they can irritate the urethra. Kegel exercises can also help strengthen the pelvic floor and lead to increased bladder control. After ruling out the medical issues mentioned above, your doctor may recommend medications that reduce the urge to pee but these carry a slew of nasty side effects like dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation and memory impairment.    

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