Why Do I Pee So Often? Incontinence & Overactive Bladder

You Drink Too Much Water

Avoid overhydration to cut down on frequent bathroom trips.

It's not just in straight H2O. You get 20-30% of water from foods, and more from other beverages. It may seem obvious, but too much water will make you pee more. That could lower the salt in your blood to unhealthy levels. Follow the "Goldilocks" rule: Drink enough to keep your urine clear or light yellow, but not so much that you spend all day in the bathroom.

Urinary Tract Infection

A UTI irritates your bladder and sends you frequently running to the restroom.

It's the most common cause of frequent peeing. Bacteria infect your kidneys, bladder, or the tubes that connect them to each other and to the outside world. Your bladder swells and can't hold as much urine, which may be cloudy, bloody, or strange-smelling. You might also have fever, chills, nausea, and pain in your side or lower belly. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the infection.

Diabetes (Mellitus)

A frequent urge to pee is a common symptom of diabetes.

Both type 1 and type 2 raise your blood sugar. Your kidneys try to filter it out, but they can't always keep up. So the sugar ends up in your urine. This draws more water from your body and makes you pee more. The frequent urge to go is one of the first and most common signs of diabetes. Talk to your doctor if you suddenly start to pee more than usual.

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus makes your bladder go into overdrive.

This is a different condition from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Here, your body can't use or doesn't make enough vasopressin, a hormone that normally tells your kidneys to release water into your blood when you need it. You may feel tired, nauseated, confused, and very, very thirsty. You also might pee as much as 15 liters a day, or five times more than normal. Your doctor can help you manage it with medication.

Diuretics

Diuretics trigger the loss of sodium and potassium from frequent urination.

Also known as water pills, these drugs treat high blood pressure and liver and kidney problems. They make your kidneys release more salt (sodium) into your urine, which makes you pee more. This may cause you to lose too much sodium and potassium, which could be bad for your health. You might be dizzy, achy, and nauseated. Talk to your doctor before you stop or change your dose.

Painful Bladder Syndrome

Interstitial cystitis causes painful and uncomfortable bladder symptoms as well as the urge to pee.

You might feel like you have to go all the time, but not much flows out. You also might have pain in your lower belly that gets worse when you pee or have sex. It seems to happen when your bladder tissue gets swollen and very sensitive. It's not always clear what causes that. You can treat this condition, which is also called interstitial cystitis, with diet and exercise, medication, surgery, and physical therapy.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones give you the urge to pee even though you may not void much urine.

Minerals and salts can form tiny rocks in your kidney. You usually feel like you have to go often but don't make much pee. You also may have nausea, fever, chills, and serious pain in your side and back that branches down to your groin in waves. Extra weight, dehydration, high-protein diets, and family history make them more likely. The stones might come out on their own, or you might need surgery.

Pregnancy

Hormones and a growing belly make pregnant women pee more.

As your baby grows in your belly, it takes up more space and pushes on your bladder, which makes you want to go sooner. But even before that, when your baby was an embryo implanted in your uterus, it triggered your body to make a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin that makes you pee more. Talk to your doctor if hurts to pee or you see blood in your urine.

Stroke

A stroke or other brain condition may lead to increased urination.

It sometimes damages nerves that control your bladder. You may want to go more often, but you may not pee much. Or you might gush a lot of urine. Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and other brain diseases may have similar effects. Your doctor can help you change your diet and bathroom habits to lessen symptoms. You may need medication or surgery in serious cases.

Vaginitis

Vaginal inflammation and infection may have consequences for your bladder.

It's when your vagina gets infected and inflamed from yeast, bacteria, viruses, medication, or hormonal changes. It also can happen from chemicals in creams, sprays, or clothes. You may itch or burn when you pee, and hurt during sex. You also might notice a discharge and a smell, and feel like you have to pee more often.

Too Much Alcohol or Caffeine

As a diuretic, caffeine encourages water loss.

They act as a diuretic and flush more water out of you. They also curb your body's production of vasopressin, a hormone that normally tells your kidneys to release more water to your body instead of sending it straight to your bladder. It's a good idea to sip water along with your cocktail, beer, or wine.

Weak Pelvis

Weak pelvic floor muscles may lead to frequent urination or incontinence.

That's the area of your lower belly. When the muscles get stretched and weak, which may happen in pregnancy and childbirth, the bladder might move out of position. Or your urethra, the tube you pee through, might be stretched out. Both could cause you to leak pee.

Menopause

Lack of estrogen in menopause may lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom.

This is when a woman stops having her period, around age 50. Your body produces less of the hormone estrogen, and that can make you want to pee more. Your doctor might be able to help with hormone replacement therapy, diet changes, and other treatments.

Tumor

Tumors that push on your bladder may make you pee more.

Both cancerous and benign tumors can make you pee more because they take up more space in or around your bladder. Blood in your urine is the most important sign if it's cancer. Talk to your doctor if you see blood, notice a lump in your lower belly, or find that it hurts to pee.

Prostate

An enlarged prostate may cause a change in bathroom habits.

Men have a walnut-sized gland, the prostate, that can grow larger after age 25. An enlarged prostate can make your pee stream feel weak and uneven. You might feel like you have to go more, sometimes urgently. Rarely, this may be a sign of more serious conditions like cancer. Your doctor can help rule out other causes and treat your enlarged prostate.

Constipation

Constipation can push on your bladder and weaken pelvic floor muscles.

If you haven't pooped in a while (constipation), your bowel could get so full that it pushes on your bladder and makes you feel like you have to pee more often or really bad. Constipation can add to the problem by weakening your pelvic floor muscles, which help control your bowel and bladder. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to get regular again.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea interferes with your body's ability to make antidiuretic hormone (ADH) that helps you hold on to water.

Deep sleep signals your body to make a hormone (ADH) that tells your body to hold onto water until you wake up. Sleep apnea interrupts your breathing for brief spells. This stops your body from getting to the stage where it makes ADH. Plus, your blood doesn't get as much oxygen, which triggers your kidneys to get rid of water.

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REFERENCES:

  • Cleveland Clinic: "Sleep Apnea," "Bladder Cancer," "Overactive bladder," "Vaginitis," "Pregnancy: Am I Pregnant?" "Urination: Frequent Urination," "Urinary Tract Infections," "Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)," "What Your Bladder is Trying to Tell You About Your Health."
  • Continence Foundation of Australia: "Constipation."
  • Diabetes.co.uk: "Polyuria - Frequent Urination."
  • Drinkaware Trust: "Why does alcohol make you pee more?"
  • Harvard Health Publishing: "4 tips for coping with an enlarged prostate."
  • Mayo Clinic: "Kidney Stones," "Diuretics," "Diabetes insipidus," "Water: How much should you drink every day?"
  • Nutrients: "Contribution of Water from Food and Fluids to Total Water Intake: Analysis of a French and UK Population Surveys."
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation: "Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms."
  • Urology Care Foundation: "When Nerve Damage Causes Bladder Problems: Neurogenic Bladder."
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