Urinating Frequently? This May Be the Cause
As you get older, you probably notice that you're urinating more frequently, and there are many reasons behind these increased trips to the bathroom. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, and peeing too much can be a sign of trouble anywhere along the tract. Typically, most people urinate about three liters a day depending on their liquid intake, and any more than that may point to a condition called polyuria. However, there's a difference between excessive volume and when the urge strikes too often—more than six or seven times per day—which can disrupt your life and also potentially point to a more serious medical issue.
Common causes of frequent urination
You can find a lot of information about the link between frequent or painful urination and prostate problems, but there may be other underlying causes and additional symptoms, including testicular pain. Typical causes of frequent urination include urinary tract infections (UTIs), diabetes, urethral stricture and intake of diuretics such as alcohol, caffeine and certain medications.
Symptoms of a UTI include the frequent or intense urge to urinate, pain in the lower back and blood in the urine. These infections can occur in the upper urinary tract (the kidneys and ureters) or the lower urinary tract (bladder, prostate, urethra) and are treated with oral antibiotics.
Diabetes can result in elevated blood sugars that need to be processed by the kidneys and eliminated through urine. This illness may leave a person feeling tired and thirsty due to dehydration, and doctors recommend lifestyle changes and possibly medication to manage diabetes.
A urethral stricture is a narrowing of the urethra that restricts urine flow from the bladder. It's caused by scar tissue or inflammation and is more common in men than in women. It can make urination painful as well as frequent and is generally treated with a dilation procedure or surgery.
Excessive intake of fluids or the use of diuretics may also lead to a persistent need to urinate. The best treatment is lifestyle changes or talking to your doctor about your medication regimen.
Other causes of frequent urination
Urination frequency may have other sources. For example, the culprit may be epididymitis or inflammation of the coiled tube at the back of each testicle that carries sperm. It's the most common cause of scrotal pain and testicular tenderness and may be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia or the reverse flow of urine into the epididymis, which can happen while straining, such as when you lift something heavy. Bacterial epididymitis may be treated with antibiotics, but if an abscess has formed, surgery may be required.
Kidney stones—hard deposits of minerals and salts that are very painful to pass with your urine—can be the culprits, too, and may result in testicular pain. Kidney stones are generally treated with medication.
Congestive heart failure can cause water retention, resulting in the swelling of the legs or abdomen. When you lie down at night, the excess fluid moves back into the bloodstream and then to the kidneys, where it's eliminated as urine. If you're relieving yourself frequently at night, you may want to get your ticker checked and then follow a course of treatment prescribed by your doctor.
Another potential cause? Maybe it's overactive bladder (OAB) due to weak pelvic muscles, nerve damage, excess weight or medications. OAB may be treated with behavior modification, medication and Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor.
What you can do about frequent urination
Frequent urination isn't just something you have to live with—a number of steps may help you find relief. First, keep a log of when and how much you urinate; this will help you and your doctor better understand your circumstances. Minimize drinks such as coffee and alcohol, especially before bed. Manage your weight and increase your activity level. Talk to your doctor about any medications you're taking or ones you could add to help relax the bladder so it can empty each time.
Frequent urination is a common problem with several possible causes. Some causes may be serious while others are fairly easily managed, so don't panic. Talk to your doctor about simple changes you can make today.