Frequent urge to urinate: what to do?

Frequent urge to urinate: what to do?

As the bladder fills, the urge to urinate typically develops over time. But if the urge to urinate occurs constantly or is particularly strong, this can indicate a bladder disorder. There can be various causes behind the symptoms, including a bladder infection or an enlarged prostate. It is essential for the diagnosis of whether the urge to urinate occurs during the day or at night and how much urine comes out when urinating. Read here about the causes of frequent urination and available treatment options. 

Illness is not always present.

About 1 to 1.5 litres of urine are formed in our bodies every day. How much urine is produced depends primarily on the amount of liquid consumed. Urine is made in the kidneys and then accumulates in the bladder. If this is full, we feel the urge to urinate due to the pressure of the liquid on the bladder wall. When you urinate, toxins and waste products are flushed out of the body with the urine. 

Frequent urination is normal if you drink a lot or eat large amounts of water-rich foods – such as watermelonscucumbers or tomatoes. However, when urinating, a lot of urine should come out of the bladder. Urinating up to ten times a day is generally considered normal. Consult a doctor if you need to go to the toilet more often.


Frequent urge to urinate: causes in men and women

There are generally three different forms of frequent urination:

  • Polyuria
  • Pollakisurie
  • Nocturia

With polyuria, large amounts of urine of about two to three litres are excreted daily. This is significantly more than the norm. A strong feeling of thirst often occurs, together with the frequent urge to urinate – this is mainly the case with diabetes mellitus. 

In addition, polyuria can also be triggered by excessive alcohol or coffee consumption and medications such as diuretics that have a dehydrating effect. Diseases such as kidney failure or heart failure are also possible causes. In addition, it is also possible that a frequent urge to urinate is caused by extreme mental stress. 

Pollakiuria as a cause

If there is a frequent urge to urinate, but little or no urine can be passed, this is referred to as pollakiuria. In men, this phenomenon usually indicates a disease of the prostate.

In women, a frequent urge to urinate, in which only small amounts of urine can be passed, often occurs in the early phase of pregnancy

Pollakiuria can also indicate an irritable bladder or a bladder infection. Typical symptoms of a bladder infection are burning and pain when urinating. In addition to a bladder infection, other urinary tract diseases, such as an inflammation of the renal pelvis, can also be the cause. 


Nocturnal urge to urinate

Older people in particular have a frequent urge to urinate, especially at night. Nocturia occurs when the bladder has to be emptied regularly more than twice during the night. This significantly disrupts sleep and can lead to symptoms such as headaches, difficulty concentrating and  fatigue throughout the day  .

In women, an infection of the lower urinary tract such as a bladder infection is often the cause of the symptoms. In men, however, frequent urge to urinate at night usually indicates a benign enlargement of the prostate. Due to the narrowing of the urethra, they cannot empty all of the urine from the bladder when urinating. The bladder then fills up more quickly with the remaining urine and the urge to urinate is triggered again.

Make the correct diagnosis

If you suffer from frequent urge to urinate, you should consult a doctor and have the cause of the symptoms clarified. At the beginning, the doctor will usually have a detailed discussion with you and clarify the following questions:

  • When does the urge to urinate occur (day or night)?
  • Is there a lot of urine when you urinate or less?
  • Do you feel very thirsty?
  • Are you taking certain medications such as diuretics?
  • Do you drink a lot of fluids, especially in the form of  coffee  or  tea ?

Your doctor may recommend that you keep a so-called micturition diary. In it, you can note how often and in which situations the urge to urinate occurs. Also, write down how much and what you drank beforehand.

Examination of blood and urine

Following the conversation, the doctor may order an examination of the blood and urine values ​​and blood concentration (osmolarity). An ultrasound of the urinary tract and prostate, an X-ray examination or a cystoscopy of the bladder can also be helpful. Depending on the suspicion, the function of other organs, such as the heart, may also need to be examined.

In some cases, a urodynamic examination is also carried out. Among other things, it measures how much urine the bladder can store and whether there is involuntary loss of urine. The function of the pelvic floor muscles can also be checked this way.


What helps against the frequent urge to urinate?

If you have to go to the toilet very often, you should always have this checked by a doctor. There are usually harmless causes behind the symptoms, but serious illnesses such as diabetes, prostate cancer or heart failure are also possible. Strictly which therapy is carried out for frequent urination depends mainly on the underlying disease.

If there is no organic cause, you should try to train your bladder specifically. Please do not go to the toilet when you first feel the urge to urinate but consciously suppress it for a while. This will allow your bladder to get used to larger volumes again slowly. Under no circumstances should you drink less just because you have to go to the toilet frequently. This will only harm your body in the long term.

Medication relieves the symptoms.

If your quality of life is severely restricted by the frequent urge to urinate, medication can also be used for treatment. Anticholinergics or spasmolytics, for example, ensure that the bladder’s willingness to contract is reduced. So-called alpha-blockers, which relax the muscles of the prostate, are also recommended for men. For women, on the other hand, estrogens are more helpful. 

Also, seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist on whether herbal remedies are suitable for therapy. In the case of an irritable bladder, for example, the symptoms can be alleviated by eating pumpkin seeds. 


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