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The body eliminates toxins and waste fluids (consisting of water, uric acid, and urea) through the excretory process of urination. The urine is stored in the bladder, until it is full and one feels the urge to urinate. It then passes through the urinary tract and is eliminated from the body. The average frequency of urination is 6-7 times a day and depends largely on drinking more than 2 litres of water and other fluids. When you have frequent urination, which exceeds 8 times, especially at night (nocturia), it can cause disturbance in the sleep pattern, and could give rise to other issues. And that’s when it is time to pay attention and see a doctor.
Frequent urination could have one or more underlying causes:
* Excess intake of tea, coffee and alcohol make the kidneys work harder;
* Excess water intake (more than 2 litres or roughly 8 glasses of water) also * makes the kidneys go into overdrive;
* Frequent urination is a common feature during pregnancy due to the pressure of the growing size of the uterus on the bladder;
* Urinary tract infection (UTI);
* Kidney infection or disease;
* Increased urination during the night with large volume of urine during each visit to the bathroom is a symptom of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and diabetes insipidus;
* Overactive bladder syndrome causes involuntary spasms and contractions in the bladder and lead to frequent and urgent urges to pass urine;
* Enlarged prostate in men puts pressure on the urethra, causing a block in the flow of urine and irritates the bladder wall;
* Vaginitis in women: inflamed vagina;
* Prolapsed pelvis in women;
* Ovarian cysts in women;
* Diuretic medication for hypertension causes the kidneys to flush out excess fluid build-up, resulting in excess and frequent urination;
* Urinary tract stones;
* Kidney stones;
* Tumour in the bladder or pelvic area;
* Inflammation in the bladder wall (interstitial cystitis or urethritis) causes pain in the bladder and a constant need to urinate;
* Sexually transmitted diseases;
* Neurological issues or stroke could lead to damaged nerves that may give rise to sudden and frequent urge to urinate;
* Hypercalcemia, or abnormal calcium levels in the blood, could be due to hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism, leading to frequent urination;
* Kidney, ovarian, or bladder cancer could lead to a frequent urge to urinate;
* Radiation therapy could also be a cause of frequent urination;
* Old age.
If accompanied by the following additional symptoms, it is time to see a doctor:
* Pain while passing urine (dysuria)
* Pain in abdomen
* Difficulty in urination despite the urge
* Back pain and pain in the side
* Blood in the urine
* Cloudy urine
* Foul-smelling urine
* Urinary incontinence
* Nausea and vomiting
* Vaginal or penile discharge
* Increased thirst
Here’s how you can diagnose the issue
After a physical examination, your doctor will prescribe the following tests:
* Urinalysis to check for white blood cells, red blood cells and bacteria.
* Urine culture to check the kind of bacteria that may be causing an infection.
* Imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, cystoscopy, and urodynamics (cystometry, uroflowmetry, urethral pressure) to check for abnormalities and other underlying causes.
* Once diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics (short or long term) depending on the frequency of the UTI. It also depends on the diagnosis of underlying causes.
Prevention is always better than cure, so try and follow these tips:
* Drink plenty of fluids (8 glasses of water per day) during the day.
* Avoid drinking fluids in the late evening /before going to bed.
* Practice kegel exercises to improve muscle strength and tone.