Constant Urge to Urinate

A person typically urinates four to eight times in a day and should be able to sleep 6-8 hours at night without waking to use the restroom. When a person develops the need to urinate more than 8 times a day and must even awaken at night to urinate, they have abnormal urination habits. There is an exception, however, for older men who will commonly need to urinate at least once during the night. In this article we will describe the symptoms of frequent urination, causes, and treatment options.

Symptoms of Frequent urination

The symptoms accompanying frequent urination are quite uniform. The following list includes the most common symptoms of frequent urination:

  • Frequency - The chief symptom of this urinary condition is the excessive number of times you need to urinate. The level of urination becomes abnormal when it exceeds 8 times in a day and more than once during the night.
  • Hesitancy - Inconsistencies with the manner in which the urine leaves your bladder. The urine may stop before you have emptied your bladder, or it may be difficult to begin urination. This will require the individual to strain or 'push' when urinating.
  • Pressure - Pressure will be felt in the bladder, creating the sensation of needing to pee urgently.
  • Urinary incontinence and dribbling - The former condition is characterized by a person's inability to control their urination, thus accidental leakage can occur. Dribbling is when a person has ceased urinating, but urine continues to periodically drip out.
  • Dysuria - Pain or burning during urination or shortly after it has ceased.
  • Hematuria - This is when blood is present in the urine. The level of blood will vary in accordance with the underlying cause.

Frequent Urination Causes

The constant need to urinate can be caused by many different conditions. Below we have listed the most common conditions associated with frequent urination:

  • Urinary tract infection - This is the most common cause of frequent urination, affecting millions of women and men annually. It manifests when there is an infection in a specific region of the urinary tract. This includes the bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. The bladder and urethra are the most common sites of infection. A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract. This results from sexual intercourse or poor hygiene. In addition to the need to urinate frequently, an infected individual will experience pain or burning during urination. Their urine will be cloudy and may smell quite unpleasant; they may come down with a low fever, and feel pressure in their lower abdomen or back.
  • Drinking too much - When you increase your liquid intake, you will subsequently urinate more often.
  • Pregnancy - Pregnancy causes an increase in urination due to hormonal changes and pressure on the bladder from the expanding uterus. This can occur at all three stages of pregnancy.
  • Prostate problems - an enlarged prostate that puts pressure on the urethra, effectively interrupting the flow of urine, often causes frequent urination in men. This will in turn irritate the bladder wall, causing it to contract more even when the bladder is not full. These excessive contractions will cause an increase in the frequency of urination.
  • Overactive bladder syndrome - This is when the bladder undergoes frequent contractions causing the sufferer to urinate often even when the bladder is not full.

Other rare causes of frequent urination are:

  • Interstitial cystitis - This is when the tissue on the bladder wall is inflamed. The cause of this condition is currently unknown, and there is no cure. The other symptoms associated with this disorder are pain during intercourse, pelvic pain, and urinary discomfort.
  • Diabetes - The frequent need to urinate is an early symptom of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. This results because the body is trying to flush out excess glucose.. If frequent urination is caused by diabetes, there will be other distinctive symptoms. These include fatigue, excessive thirst and hunger, unexplained weight loss or gain, nausea, blurred vision, dry mouth, slow healing sores, and itchy skin.
  • Prostatitis - This less common prostate problem involves the swelling and irritation of the prostate gland. Prostatitis is predominantly caused by bacteria infecting the prostate gland. This can be due to sexual activity, and individuals with an enlarged prostate are more prone to developing this bacterial infection. If your frequent urination is caused by this condition, you will most likely have the following accompanying symptoms: fever, chills, flushing of the skin, blood in the urine, burning sensation while urinating, urine that smells unpleasant, pain with ejaculation and/or bowel movements, and abdominal pain.

Other less common causes are bladder cancer, stroke or other neurological diseases, radiation therapy, diverticulitis, and urinary tract fistula.

Treatment options

Below we have listed some treatment options for the aforementioned causes of frequent urination:

  • Urinary Tract Infection - This is treated with a course of antibiotics, but the type of antibiotics and length of treatment will vary in accordance with the severity of the infection. If it is a run of the mill urinary tract infection, then a 3-7 day course of antibiotics should be sufficient. When it is more severe and affects the upper regions of the urinary tract, then hospital intervention may be required, followed by 10-14 days of oral antibiotics.
  • Diabetes - If you suspect you have diabetes, visit a health professional promptly. Once diagnosis has been made, your physician will construct a treatment plan that focuses on your diet and exercise. You will be required to dramatically change your previous lifestyle and adopt healthy eating habits along with regular exercise. People with Type 1 Diabetes will also be required to administer daily insulin shots, as their body no longer makes it naturally.
  • Overactive bladder syndrome - There are two primary treatment options for this condition: pelvic muscle rehabilitation and behavioral therapies. Pelvic muscle rehabilitation aims to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic wall via pelvic muscle exercises, biofeedback, and vaginal weight training. The behavioral therapy route is aimed at helping people regain control of their bladder.
  • Enlarged prostate - There are two main courses of action for enlarged prostate treatment, either medical or surgical. Medical treatment involves taking medications to relax the muscles inside the prostate. The most common surgery performed to treat an enlarged prostate is TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate).
  • Prostatitis - A course of antibiotics is the usual method of treatment for this bacterial infection. The duration of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection, acute prostatitis will require 4 to 6 weeks of antibiotics, while chronic prostatitis may need up to 12 weeks of ongoing treatment. After you have finished the prescribed antibiotics, you will need to return to your doctor. This is to determine if the infection has been successfully treated.

When to contact a doctor

You should seek a doctor when this frequent urination starts to interfere with your daily life. You should immediately consult a doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever, pain in the your side or back, vomiting, or chills
  • An increase in thirst or hunger, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Urinary frequency or urgency that is not due to pregnancy or excess drinking
  • Your urine has blood in it or appears cloudy in appearance
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina

Other Resources