Most people pee between six and eight times a day, but this varies due to a number of factors.
Health issues from cystitis to diabetes can impact how often you feel the urge, while how – and what – you eat and drink plays a big part too.
Your toilet habits may also increase the amount of times you use the loo, as although the bladder holds around a pint of urine, if you regularly pee ‘just in case’ or don’t fully empty the bladder when you go, it can increase sensitivity.
Everyone is different, so there’s no benchmark on the ‘normal’ frequency of urination.
That said, if you find you constantly need to go, can’t hold it for long enough to reach the toilet, get up regularly in the night to pee, or only release a small amount of urine each time, it may be cause for concern.
Azar Khunda, Consultant Urogynaecologist at The Princess Grace Hospital (part of HCA Healthcare UK), recommends seeking medical advice if you experience symptoms ‘over a sustained period.’
He also shared some of the most common underlying reasons for frequent urination, as well as what to do if you can’t find relief.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
‘UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause an infection,’ Azar tells Metro.co.uk.
‘This irritation can lead to a frequent urge to urinate, along with other symptoms like burning sensations and cloudy urine.’
While some UTIs can be treated by drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers to alleviate symptoms, it’s important to visit your GP who may prescribe antibiotics.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can both impact how often you pee.
Azar explains: ‘Elevated blood sugar levels can cause the kidneys to work harder to remove excess glucose from the body through urine, resulting in increased urination.’
People with uncontrolled diabetes sometimes also find their wee smells sweet or fruity as a result of this glucose, or is darker in colour due to dehydration.
See a doctor if you’re concerned, as ‘managing blood sugar levels through medication, diet, and lifestyle changes is crucial,’ for anyone with the condition.
According to Azar, diuretic medications prescribed to treat conditions like high blood pressure or edema (sometimes referred to as water tablets) ‘increase urine production, which can lead to frequent urination.’
He recommends discussing concerns with your doctor.
‘An overactive bladder is a condition characterised by involuntary bladder contractions, causing frequent and urgent urination,’ says Azar.
The NHS states that although there is no known cause of this, it’s usually down to ‘a long history of poor bladder habits’. It may be an issue that runs in your family, and can affect people of all ages.
Stress can make the problem worse, but it can be managed ‘through lifestyle modifications, pelvic floor exercises, and, if necessary, medication.’
This chronic condition, also known as painful bladder syndrome, causes symptoms such as severe pelvic pain and frequent urination – sometimes as often as 60 times per day.
Interstitial cystitis tends to be more common in women over 30, and may flare up and improve over a period of days, weeks or months. There’s no single diagnostic test for diagnosis, so other conditions may need to be ruled out first.
‘Treatment may include dietary changes and medication to alleviate symptoms,’ adds Azar.
Azar says: ‘During pregnancy, hormonal changes can increase blood flow to the kidneys, leading to more frequent urination.
‘As the uterus expands, it can also put pressure on the bladder, further contributing to the need to urinate often.’
While annoying, this is nothing to worry about, and should subside once you give birth.
‘In men, an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia/BPH) can compress the urethra, causing urinary difficulties, including increased frequency,’ says Azar.
You may also find it difficult to start peeing or to fully empty your bladder as a result of BPH, which is particularly common in men over 50.
In spite of the fact this isn’t a cancer and doesn’t usually pose a serious threat to health, any urinary symptoms should be checked out by a medical professional.
It seems obvious, but if you’re always running to the loo it could be due to drinking excessive amounts of fluids.
Azar says that caffeine and alcohol in particular can increase urine production, and ‘adjusting fluid intake, particularly before bedtime, may help manage this.’
Highlighting the importance of early diagnosis, he adds: ‘Ignoring persistent symptoms could potentially lead to complications, so seeking timely medical advice is crucial.’
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