Do you regularly wake up in the middle of the night with a full bladder and make your way, bleary eyed, to the loo? Waking up occasionally to use the bathroom once per night is totally normal. But if you wake up regularly twice or more every night you might have a problem.
Healthy adults should be able to sleep six to eight hours without using the bathroom, but in some people this ability might be impaired for various reasons. Nocturia (the official name of the frequent night-time peeing condition) is actually very common, and its chances increase with age. It is said to affect up to 40% of adult population, and about 50% of men aged 70-79.
Waking up often to pee is at the very least inconvenient. It can affect your sleep quality and will therefore impact other areas of your life and wellbeing. But it can also be a symptom of a more serious health issue.
Common causes of nocturia
Before knowing how to treat this problem you have to figure out what’s causing it.
The cause of nocturia can be something as simple as drinking too much fluids before bedtime, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, being pregnant (the womb presses on the bladder causing the pregnant woman to go to the bathroom more often).
These often resolve on their own once you have the baby, decide to drink less alcohol and caffeine, or take your daily fluids earlier in the day.
Other, more serious causes of nocturia include prostate problems in men, lack of oestrogen in women, bladder or kidney problems or even heart disease.
It may also have to do with sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia.
What to do
Nocturia often goes unreported and is not seen as a serious problem by many people. But if left untreated, the condition can get worse, and most importantly its potential underlying health issue will go undiagnosed. If you get up frequently to pee it’s important to get evaluated by your doctor to check if it’s a symptom of a serious problem.
Be careful about simply cutting down on your fluid intake as it can make you dehydrated leading to further problems and even making nocturia worse. But you can make sure to drink more earlier in the day and a little less towards night time.
Cutting down on your alcohol and caffeine intake, especially towards bedtime, won’t hurt either.
Most importantly remember that you’re not alone. In the meantime, make sure to light up the path to the toilet to reduce the risk of falling and hurting yourself in the dark.