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Frequent urination

Definition

Frequent urination is the need to urinate more often than what's normal for you. You may be passing more urine than usual or only small amounts.

Frequent urination may occur both day and night, or it may be noticeable only during the night (nocturia).

Frequent urination can affect your sleep, work and general well-being.

Causes

Frequent urination may be caused by diseases affecting the urinary tract at any level. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), the bladder, and the duct through which urine flows from the bladder out of the body (urethra).

Several factors may be linked to frequent urination, such as:

  • Infection, disease, injury or irritation of the bladder
  • Conditions that increase urine production
  • Changes in muscles, nerves or other tissues affecting bladder function
  • Certain cancer treatments
  • Drugs or beverages that increase urine production

Depending on what's causing your frequent urination, you may experience other urinary problems, such as:

  • Pain or discomfort during urination
  • A strong urge to urinate
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Unusual urine color

Specific diseases, conditions or other factors that can result in frequent urination include:

  • Anterior prolapse (cystocele)
  • Anxiety
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Bladder stones
  • Change in kidney function
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Diuretics (water retention relievers)
  • Excess consumption of total fluids, alcohol or caffeine
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Kidney infection
  • Overactive bladder
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostatitis
  • Radiation treatment affecting the pelvis or lower abdomen
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Urethral stricture
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Vaginitis

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you're urinating more frequently than usual and if:

  • There's no apparent cause, such as drinking more total fluids, alcohol or caffeine
  • The problem disrupts your sleep or everyday activities
  • You have other urinary problems or worrisome symptoms

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have frequent urination along with any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Painful urination
  • Pain in your side, lower abdomen or groin
  • Difficulty urinating or emptying your bladder
  • A strong urge to urinate
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Fever

Urinary tract disorders may cause the above signs or symptoms, but so can other serious diseases or health conditions. Seek medical help to find out what's causing your frequent urination and how to treat it.

Last updated: December 20th, 2017

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