Frequent Urination

Frequent urination also called frequency means having an urge to pass urine more often than usual. It can disrupt one's normal routine, interrupt the sleep cycle, and it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.It is normally only a problem if it affects a person's quality of life or interferes with your routine work.

Frequency usually refers to day time frequency and nocturia refers to frequency during night time.

There are no strict criteria for frequency and the frequency varies between individuals depending on their fluid intake. It is what the individual perceives as frequency that matters. Most will agree that voiding more than 7 times in a period of 24 hours while drinking about 2 litres of fluid.

Frequent urination can be associated with the following complaints also:

  • Urgency: It is the complaint of a sudden, compelling desire to pass urine which is difficult to postpone.
  • Urge incontinence: It is the complaint of involuntary leakage of urine accompanied by or immediately preceded by urgency
  • Nocturia: Getting up more than once to pass urine after one goes to sleep.

Possible causes

  • Kidney or ureter problems
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Urinary bladder problems including bladder cancer, overactive bladder, Interstitial cystitis etc
  • Urinary tract infection including sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Prostate gland problems
  • Urethral stricture
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Pregnancy
  • Anxiety
  • Medication, for example, diuretics that make you urinate fluid from your body
  • Stroke and other brain or nervous system conditions
  • Tumour or mass in the pelvic area
  • Radiation of the pelvis, such as during cancer treatment
  • Colon diverticulitis

Tests

  • May include
  • Urine analysis to identify any abnormality in the urine
  • Ultrasound, for a visual image of the kidneys
  • A plain film X-ray or CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis
  • Neurological tests to detect any nerve disorder
  • Testing for STIs
  • A man or woman may be referred to a urologist, or a woman may be referred to a gynaecologist.
  • Urodynamic tests

Treatment

General treatment

  • Kegel exercises: Regular daily exercises, often done around pregnancy, can strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and urethra and support the bladder. For best results, perform Kegel exercises 10 to 20 times per set, three times a day, for at least 4 to 8 weeks
  • Biofeedback: Used alongside Kegel exercises, this enables the patient to become more aware of how their body functions. This increased awareness can help the patient improve their control of their pelvic muscles
  • Bladder training: This involves training the bladder to hold urine longer. Training usually lasts 2 to 3 months
  • Monitoring fluid intake: This may show that drinking a lot at certain times is the main cause of frequent urination

Specific treatment

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause

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