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- Frequent urination can be the result of a UTI, which may also cause fever or cloudy urine.
- An overactive bladder causes bladder spasms and is more likely to happen to post-menopausal people.
- Diabetes, pregnancy, and an enlarged prostate are also conditions that may cause frequent urination.
Going to the bathroom is a normal part of everyday life, but if you feel like you constantly need to pee no matter how many times you think you've emptied your bladder, you may be dealing with an underlying medical condition.
The number of times you should urinate each day can vary based on your lifestyle, how much water you drink, how active you are, what kind of climate you live in, and how much you sweat, says Dr. Brian Norouzi, a urologist with Providence St. Joseph Hospital.
But in general, a frequency of anywhere from four to eight times a day is considered normal, Nourozi says, and if you're a heavy water drinker, up to 10 times a day may be natural for you.
But if you find you are rushing to the bathroom more than 10 times per day or your frequent trips to the toilet are disrupting your daily life, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor, says Dr. Dena Moskowitz, an OB-GYN who specializes in female pelvic health at UCI Health.
There are many different conditions that can cause you to feel the need to urinate often, even if nothing comes out once you get to the toilet. Here's a look at five common reasons for frequent urination and how to treat them.
1. Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. This type of infection typically occurs when bacteria that normally lives in the colon or rectum is introduced to the urethra where they can travel to the bladder and multiply.
Signs of a UTI can include:
- A persistent, frequent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Feeling the need to pee often but passing small amounts of urine
- Pelvic pain
- Cloudy looking urine
- Bladder leakage
- A low-grade fever
How to treat it: Diagnosis often includes a urine test to evaluate the presence of bacteria in your urine. Most mild to moderate UTIs can be effectively treated with antibiotics to clear the infection, Moskowitz says. The type of antibiotic you need and how long you can expect to take it varies depending on the type of bacteria found in your urine.
One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is increased thirst accompanied by an increased urge to urinate. Type 1 diabetes occurs when your pancreas either stops producing insulin or produces too little.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body turn sugar or glucose into energy. So, without adequate insulin, excess glucose builds up in your blood, causing your kidneys to work overtime trying to filter it out.
As a result, excess glucose gets dumped into your urine along with fluids from your tissues. The loss of fluid from your tissues can make you dehydrated and cause you to feel thirsty, so you drink more and urinate more.
In addition to increased thirst and frequent urination during the day, other signs of diabetes include:
- Waking several times at night to urinate
- Blurred vision
- Unexpected weight loss
- Tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
- Dry skin
How to treat it: Your treatment will depend on what type of diabetes you have, but in general, can include lifestyle changes, like increasing exercise or modifying your diet, and medication.
3. Overactive bladder
This condition is characterized by spasms in the bladder, causing it to contract involuntarily which results in frequent and urgent trips to the bathroom.
Overactive bladder can happen to anyone, but your risk of developing it increases as you age. Post-menopausal women are also at an increased risk of developing an overactive bladder due to hormonal changes that occur during menopause, Norouzi says.
How to treat it: There are many medications that can help treat an overactive bladder, Norouzi says. Your doctor can help you determine the best one for you.
You may also be able to control symptoms with lifestyle changes, like limiting your intake of fluid at night or making changes to your diet, like limiting your consumption of caffeine or citrus fruits, which can irritate the bladder.
You may also experience weakened pelvic floor muscles as your body prepares for birth, which can contribute to your need to frequently visit the bathroom.
How to treat it: This uncomfortable pregnancy symptom usually subsides once you give birth. However,if you are still experiencing frequent urination or incontinence after giving birth, you may want to reach out to a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
During pregnancy, you can help limit trips to the bathroom by reducing your intake of fluids before bed, and limiting your consumption of caffeine during the day, which can irritate the bladder and make you need to pee more often.
5. An enlarged prostate
As men age, the tube through which they urinate, called the urethra, can get blocked by an enlarged prostate, Norouzi says. This can lead to either poor bladder emptying or bladder muscle changes that can cause urination frequency and urgency.
Other signs of prostate gland enlargement include:
- A weak urine stream
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
- Difficulty starting urination
How to treat it: In most cases, an enlarged prostate is benign (not cancerous) and treatment can include medication or surgery, Moskowitz says.
Sometimes, though, frequent urination can also be a sign of prostate cancer, Norouzi says. So if you are experiencing these symptoms, seek evaluation from a physician who can determine the cause and best course of treatment for you.
Experiencing a few days of increased urination, especially if you have been consuming more water than usual, is not a cause for concern, Norouzi says.
But if the urgent need to urinate persists and is accompanied by other symptoms, like increased thirst, a burning sensation when urinating, a fever, abdominal pain, or blood in the urine, you should seek medical care.
You may have an underlying condition that is causing you to feel the need to pee more often, like diabetes, an overactive bladder, or a urinary tract infection. In most cases, frequent urination can be treated once the cause is identified.