Nocturia causes people to wake frequently during the night with an urgent need to urinate. Researchers believe waking to urinate one time during a six to eight hour period falls within the normal range, but people with nocturia may wake as many as seven times during the night. Nocturia is a major contributor to sleep loss and affects older adults at a higher rate than other age groups. As many as two-thirds of adults between the ages of 55 and 84 experience nocturia.
There are three types of nocturia, each with a range of causes. Polyuria causes the bladder to produce an abnormally large amount of urine. Nocturnal polyuria is the abnormally large production of urine specifically while sleeping. Finally, low nocturnal bladder capacity refers to the amount of urine the bladder can hold during the night. Nocturia may be a source of one of these ailments, or a mix of several.
The medications you take may affect your need to urinate during the night. Some medications get rid of excess water in your body, which can understandably result in a higher volume of urine. Other medications may relax the bladder or cause the body to make more urine. Consult a doctor if you are concerned that your medication is affecting your ability to sleep.
In general, older people report more issues with their quality of sleep than younger people. While there are multiple causes of age-related sleep disorders, nocturia is more common in older adults than in younger people. At least 68% of men and 74% of women over the age of 70 get up during the night to urinate. This is due to decreased bladder capacity, decreased urinary flow rate, and a reduced ability to postpone urination.
Pregnancy often causes more frequent urination, whether during the day or at night. This effect begins early in the pregnancy as a woman's body produces more blood. The kidneys process additional fluid that is expelled as urine. Later in the pregnancy, the woman's uterus may put pressure on the bladder, causing more frequent urination. Nocturia may also occur in pregnant women when they lie down at the end of the day. The legs retain water throughout the day that is sent to the bladder once the body is in a prone position.
Research shows nocturia is a sign of sleep apnea. As many as 84% of people with sleep apnea report waking up more than once or twice during the night to urinate. Researchers believe this is because sleep apnea causes the airways to close, setting in motion internal events that alert the brain that something is wrong. The body sends a false signal of fluid overload, triggering the need to urinate.
Some people report their need to urinate during the night decreases when they drink less in the hours before bedtime. Alcohol is a diuretic that leads the kidneys to make you urinate more frequently than usual. Caffeine is also a diuretic. Thus, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, particularly right before bed, may help lessen nocturia.
Higher rates of obesity correspond to increased likelihood of nocturia, according to the National Institutes of Health. Obesity directly correlates to a frequent need to urinate during the night. Also, nocturia is linked to poor sleep patterns. Insufficient sleep is a key contributor to weight gain and obesity. Therefore, nocturia is both a cause and an effect of obesity.
A urinary tract infection is the bacterial infection of any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Symptoms of urinary tract infections and bladder infections include the frequent need to urinate through the day and night. If you believe your nocturia is due to a urinary tract infection, consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Nocturia is common among people experiencing heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to the rest of the body. This lack of blood flow leads to blood accumulation in extremities such as the legs and ankles. At night, when a person with heart failure lies down, the accumulated blood rushes to the heart and causes the kidneys to go into overdrive. This results in a more frequent need to urinate during the night.
If you are waking more than once or twice each night to urinate, you may want to see a doctor. Nocturia could be a sign that something else is wrong. Additionally, nocturia is linked to poor sleep quality, which can affect concentration, mental health, and weight. If you see a doctor, provide him or her with a log of your sleep patterns, medications, and levels of fatigue during the day. This will help pinpoint whether you have nocturia and what treatment will be most beneficial.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.