Excess urination at night disrupts your sound sleep leaving you awake for some time before falling back to sleep. Research has shown that at least 2 in four adults wake up more than once to visit the washroom in 6-8 hours when they should be sleeping.  Even though this might not seem to bother most people who experience it, the truth of the matter is that in most instances there could be an underlying medical problem.

Nocturia (excessive urination at night) has a significant impact on one’s general health and their wellbeing. It can lead to fatigue, insomnia, depression and gastrointestinal distress increasing risk of developing related medical conditions.

What is frequent urination at night?

The body gets rid of excess water, salt, urea and other toxins through urination. The kidneys play a significant role in excretion of salts and urea.

Urinary frequency is defined as the need to urinate more than seven times in 24 hours when drinking at least 2 litres of water in the same period.

Children have small bladders that fill rather quickly than that of an adult. Because of this, it is normal for them to urinate more frequently.

Causes of excessive night urination

Several factors could lead to excessive urination at night. While some of them like aging are natural, others need urgent medical attention to avoid complications. Here are the most common causes of nocturia:

1. Ageing

The prostate gland enlarges with age, an older male; the enlarged prostate gland hinders complete emptying of the bladder hence increased trips to the toilet now and then. Older women or those with children may have weaker pelvic floor muscles therefore a loose bladder leading to frequent urination.

2. Medication

Urinary tract infections are the leading cause of frequent urination at night. The diseases usually cause burning sensations increasing the urge for one to visit the toilet for relieving. Other medical conditions that often lead to nocturia include:

  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Obstructive apnea syndrome
  • Bladder prolapse
  • Infections of the prostate gland
  • Spinal cord injuries such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, and spinal cord compression.

3. Medications

Some medications prescribed have nocturia as one of their side effects. For example, drugs prescribed for high blood pressure (diuretics) work by opening the bladder tissues to excrete water in a bid to reduce blood pressure. Even though, seek medical advice if you find yourself urinating more frequently or if you lose the ability to control your bladder muscles.

4. Lifestyle habits

Another most common cause of nocturia is excessive fluid intake some hours before bed. Alcohol and caffeine can cause urination because of their diuretics properties. This simply means that drinking excessive alcohol or coffee at night may lead to frequent urination.

How is frequent urination diagnosed?

From the above most common causes of nocturia, you can tell that making a diagnosis might be difficult. One may need to keep a diary of their night time urination routine for a couple of weeks before finally getting diagnosed.

Here are the tests that one may need to undergo to be diagnosed with frequent urination:

Urinalysis or urine microscopy measures the amount of various components in your urine.

  • Blood sugar test to check for diabetes

Urine culture and cystoscopy allows the doctor to look into your bladder in order to determine whether it is functioning properly.

  • Fluid deprivation test
  • Blood counts and blood chemistry tests

Ultrasonography helps the doctor visualize the internal structure of the bladder and determine presence of any abnormality.

Neurological tests help the doctor rule out or make a diagnosis of nerve disorder.

What are the treatment options for excessive urination at night?

Treatment of nocturia depends on the cause. For example, if your frequent urination at night is caused by medications, you might consider taking your drugs earlier in the day.

Even though for other cases, treatment of nocturia includes:

  • Anticholinergic drugs that help decrease the symptoms of overactive bladder.
  • Desmopressin that causes the kidney to produce minimal urine at night.

Nocturia in most cases is a symptom of a severe underlying medical treatment such as urinary tract infection or diabetes. Therefore one may need to visit the doctor as soon as they experience frequent urination than they are used to.

How can I prevent excess urination at night?

There are several tips to help you lessen the impact of nocturia in your life no matter the cause. Here are some:

Reduce the amount of water you drink at night. Have your fluids 2-4 hours before bedtime. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee and alcohol.

Pay attention to Kegels exercises and pelvic floor therapy to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control. Here is how to do this kind of exercise:

  1. First, identify the muscles that interrupt your flow of urine
  2. Hold the muscles for about five seconds and release
  3. Tighten these muscles on and off holding and contracting them for five seconds. Doing this five times in a row a few times a week may strengthen your muscles.

Always pay attention to what aggravates nocturia and modify your lifestyle to decrease associated symptoms.

Eating a handful of raisins can go a long way in helping you deal with your nocturia. Try eating a quarter a cup of raisins before going to bed for a couple of days to see if this works for you.


  1. Frequent urination: Causes symptoms and treatments (July 2017


  1. Urinary incontinence (October 2016)


3. Frequent urination in men and women (June 2014)