Have you second-guessed a bus journey out of fear of not being close to a bathroom? Or turned down an invitation to a concert because the queues for the toilet are unbearable? The urge to urinate can get the best of most of us, and some people naturally need to urinate more often than others. However, if it feels like you’re visiting the bathroom more often than usual, and it’s beginning to affect aspects of your life such as sleep, work, and your general well-being, it’s important to find out more.
Frequent urination is the need to urinate more often than what’s normal for you. Remember, urinary frequency is individual to everyone and it can be affected by a number of simple factors such as water intake, certain medications, and older age. If you don’t suspect any of the aforementioned is the cause, there are other conditions that might be affecting your urinary frequency and habits, these include:
- Prediabetes or diabetes
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Overactive bladder
Related article: How to Tell if You Have a Kidney Infection: Symptoms and Signs
What is frequent urination a sign of?
As with many aspects of our health, how often you urinate differs based on a number of factors. If you have started to drink more fluids throughout the day, chances are that your trips to the bathroom will become more frequent, frequency also differs as you age and if you’re taking medication for high blood pressure such as diuretics, it’s quite likely that you’ll notice a change in your urinary habits.
In saying that, there are a number of other conditions that could be the underlying cause and are worth knowing more about.
Prediabetes or diabetes
Frequent urination and excessive thirst are two of the most common signs of both prediabetes and diabetes so if you find yourself taking more trips to the bathroom than you normally would, your kidneys might be working overtime to filter and flush out the excess glucose.
If you suspect that your urinary habits are a result of prediabetes, it’s important to know that you can prevent it from developing into type 2 diabetes with some simple lifestyle changes. You can identify prediabetes from home with LetsGetChecked’s at-home Diabetes Test.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
For many people, urinary tract infections need little introduction. These infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and it’s estimated that one out of every five women will experience one at some point in their life . As well as a persistent need to urinate, you may also feel a burning sensation when urinating or pass frequent, small amounts of urine.
UTIs can be treated with a course of antibiotics however if they’re left untreated, they can spread to your kidneys and cause kidney infection and/or kidney damage. If you get recurrent UTIs, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider provide medical advice and regularly check in on your kidney health.
Related article: What is Normal Kidney Function and Should you get it Checked?
If you’re experiencing a frequent urge to urinate that is difficult to control, it might be a sign of an overactive bladder (OAB). Mayo Clinic notes that an OAB is typically characterized by needing to urinate around eight or more times within 24 hours and/or waking up more than two times during the night to urinate  As you age, your risk of developing OAB increases, but conditions such as diabetes or an enlarged prostate can also increase your risk.
OAB can also be associated with urinary incontinence which refers to the unintentional passing of urine such as when you cough or laugh. Check in with your healthcare provider if you think you may have an overactive bladder or urinary incontinence.
Prostatitis occurs when the prostate gland becomes swollen and inflamed which can cause difficult and painful urination, it can also cause frequent urination at night time and potentially cloudy urine. While prostatitis can occur in males of any age, its more common in men 50 years or younger.
If you have symptoms of prostatitis, it’s important to speak with your doctor.
How can I stop frequent urination?
The constant urge to pee can disrupt many aspects of your life, if you think that it may be a result of a condition such as the ones mentioned above, it’s important to check in with a doctor to find out more. Still, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help with bladder control, these include:
- Try not to drink too many fluids at once, instead focus on drinking smaller amounts throughout the day
- Avoid foods and drinks that might irritate your bladder such as coffee, alcohol, sodas, and spicy foods
- Practice kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
Related article: Kidney-Friendly Foods: Healthy Foods for People With Kidney Disease
A frequent need to urinate can cause a host of complications down the line if it’s not treated; particularly for your kidney health. If you want to check in on your kidney function, one of the most reliable ways is through a test; this can be done with your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetChecked’s Kidney Function Test allows you to monitor your kidney function and performance. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
You should consider taking a Kidney Function Test if any of the below are applicable to you:
- You suffer from high blood pressure
- You suffer from diabetes
- You have suffered an acute injury
- You have persistent urinary tract infections
- You have kidney disease or a family history of one
- You have kidney stones or a family history of them
- You have a high protein diet
- You have been taking performance-enhancing drugs
Related article: How do you Check Your Kidney Function From Home?