Understanding Nocturia: Causes and Treatment for Frequent Nighttime Urination

Understanding Nocturia: Causes and Treatment for Frequent Nighttime Urination

Many adults have the occasional urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. About 69% of men and 76% of women over the age of 40 report going to the bathroom at least once per night. 

Getting up once is not usually a cause for concern. Typically, the average person should be able to sleep at least six to eight hours without having to urinate. However, if you find you are going to the bathroom two times or more at night and having trouble getting back to sleep, you may have a condition called Nocturia. 

What Is Nocturia?
Nocturia is an overnight need to urinate that wakes you from your sleep. It’s important to understand not a disease but a symptom of other conditions. While Nocturia may be more common in elderly people, it should not be dismissed as something that just happens because of “getting older.” It is treatable with simple lifestyle changes and/or help from your physician. 

What Causes Nocturia?
There are many reasons why you may experience Nocturia. It’s possible your body produces too much urine, or your bladder isn’t big enough to hold it. In some cases, it’s both. Your daily habits can cause it, or it could be a more serious medical condition. Here are some of the behavioral and medical causes of Nocturia:

Personal Habits  

  • Drinking too much fluid (especially caffeine or alcohol) before bedtime. 
  • Not using the bathroom before you settle in bed for the night. 
  • Timing of taking certain medications like diuretics (water pills)

Medical Conditions  

  • Overactive bladder – when bladder muscles spasm involuntarily even when the bladder is empty but giving the sensation you have to go. 
  • Bladder or Urinary Tract infections 
  • Kidney infection 
  • Edema or swelling of the legs 
  • Sleep disorders – sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, etc.  
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes 
  • Neurological diseases – Alzheimer's, Parkinsons.

Sometimes Nocturia is a result of a combination of behavioral and medical issues.  

Treatment and Management of Nocturia
If you wake up to use the bathroom twice or more each night, here are some tips to try to manage it on your own:

  • Limit fluid intake near bedtime and avoid beverages with carbonation, caffeine, or alcohol. It’s recommended to stop drinking liquids one to three hours before your normal bedtime.  
  • Check your medications and make sure you take them several hours before you go to bed. If you are taking a diuretic, it should be taken at least six hours before going to sleep.  
  • Elevate your legs at night to limit fluid buildup. Wearing compression socks may help, too.  
  • Develop a better sleep routine such as having a set bedtime, turning off your lights and electronics, and keeping your room cool.  
  • Try to empty your bladder a couple of times before settling in bed.  
  • Wear protective nighttime incontinence products to bed. This suggestion is only if you believe you may not make it to the bathroom in time. 

If you’ve tried these and other self-management techniques and you still get up often, it’s time to see your doctor. You may have an underlying and more serious medical condition. To help your doctor with the diagnosis, consider keeping a bladder diary and note the frequency of nighttime urination as well as your diet, medications, and current sleep routine.  

It’s always a good idea to consult your physician whether or not you believe you have a more serious medical issue. They can work with you to come up with the best possible treatment plan so you can have more restful nights.

More Resources
To learn more about Nocturia and other bladder conditions, the Urology Care Foundation (urologyhealth.org) and the National Association for Continence (nafc.org) are great resources for information.

If you find you need quality incontinence products and supplies to help you manage nighttime incontinence, the Product Experts at Rely Medical Supply can help!  Please call, toll-free, at 1-888-529-2308. Our friendly and helpful representatives answer calls from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central Standard Time. Each representative is trained to help you select the right products for your personal needs, to help you stay dry and comfortable.