Frequent urination means having the urge to urinate frequently , more than normal. It can disrupt your normal routine, disrupt your sleep cycle, and can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Many people live with frequent urination, medically known by frequency. When one urinates more than 3 liters of urine per day, this is known as polyuria . Learn more causes, symptoms and treatments of this condition of frequent urination. Causes of frequent urination, symptoms and treatments

Frequent urination causes, symptoms and treatments

Often there is a simple cause that can be fixed through treatment. The frequency is not the same as urinary incontinence, where there is a urine leak. Frequent urination can sometimes indicate a more serious condition. Early identification of the problem can lead to timely and effective treatment and prevent complications.

Here are some key points about frequent urination.

  • Urinary frequency, or just frequency, is different from urinary incontinence.
  • Most people urinate 6 or 7 times in 24 hours.
  • Urinating more often than this can be named based on frequencies, but they are all different.
  • Usually, it is only a problem if it affects a person’s quality of life.
  • The frequency can often be treated with exercises, but if there is an underlying condition, such as diabetes, this will require attention.

What does frequent urination or frequent urination mean

Urinary frequency is when a person needs to use the bathroom more often than usual. Urination is the body’s way of eliminating waste fluids. Urine contains water, uric acid, urea, and toxins, and waste is filtered from inside the body. The kidneys play a key role in this process.

Urine stays in the urinary bladder until it reaches a point of fullness and an urge to urinate. At this point, urine is expelled from the body. Urinary frequency is not the same as urinary incontinence, which refers to having little control over your bladder. Urinary frequency just means having to visit the bathroom to urinate more often. It can occur along with urinary incontinence, but it is not the same.

Most people urinate 6 to 7 times in a 24-hour period. Urinary frequency can be defined as the need to urinate more than 7 times in a 24-hour period while drinking approximately 2 liters of fluid. However, people differ, and most people only see a doctor when urination becomes so frequent that they feel uncomfortable. Children also have smaller urinary bladders, so it is normal for them to urinate more often.

Possible causes of frequent urination

Urination is a complex process that involves several body systems. A variety of changes can make the urinary system more active. Lifestyle-based causes include drinking a lot of fluids, especially if they contain caffeine or alcohol. At night, this can interrupt the sleep cycle with the urge to urinate.

Frequent urination can also develop as a habit. However, it can be a sign of kidney or ureter problems, urinary bladder problems, or another medical condition, such as diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, pregnancy, or prostate problems. Other causes or related factors include:

  • anxiety
  • medicines, for example diuretics that make you urinate fluid from your body
  • stroke and other brain or nervous system conditions
  • urinary tract infection
  • tumor or mass in the pelvic area
  • interstitial cystitis a type of inflammation of the bladder wall
  • overactive bladder syndrome (OAB), which causes involuntary bladder contractions that lead to a sudden urge to urinate
  • bladder cancer
  • kidney or bladder stones
  • urinary incontinence
  • urethral stricture
  • radiation to the pelvis such as during cancer treatment
  • Diverticulitis of the colon, where small, bulging sacs develop in the wall of the large intestine
  • a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia

  Symptoms of frequent urination

One of the main symptoms of polyuria is frequent urination. If there are other symptoms, they may indicate another, possibly more serious condition. The nocturia , for example, is the need to urinate at night, during the sleep cycle. This can be a symptom of diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus. Other symptoms that may need more attention include:

  • pain or discomfort when urinating
  • urine that is bloody, cloudy, or an unusual color
  • gradual loss of bladder control or urinary incontinence
  • difficulty urinating despite urging discharge from the vagina or penis
  • an increase in appetite or thirst
  • fever or chills
  • nausea or vomiting
  • lower back or side pain

If other symptoms are present or if urinary frequency is affecting quality of life, it is a good idea to see a doctor. Frequent urination can indicate a kidney infection, for example. If left untreated, this can permanently damage the kidneys. Also, the bacteria that cause the infection can enter the bloodstream and infect other areas of the body. This can be life-threatening and needs attention.


A doctor will conduct a thorough history and physical examination, asking the patient about the frequency of urination and other symptoms. They can ask about:

  • the pattern of frequent urination, such as when it started, how things have changed, and what time of day it occurs
  • current medications
  • how much liquid is being consumed
  • any change in the color, odor, or consistency of urine
  • how much caffeine and alcohol the person consumes, and whether this has changed recently
  • The tests may include:
  • urinalysis to identify any abnormalities 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 disorders
  • STI test

A man or woman can be referred to a urologist, or a woman can be referred to a gynecologist.

Urodynamic tests

Urodynamic tests evaluate the effectiveness of the urinary bladder in storing and releasing urine, and examines the function of the urethra. Simple observations include:

  • recording the time it takes to produce a urinary stream
  • taking note of the amount of urine produced
  • measure the ability to stop urinating midstream

To obtain accurate measurements, the healthcare professional can use:

  • imaging equipment to observe the filling and emptying of the bladder
  • monitors to measure pressure inside the bladder
  • sensors to record muscle and nerve activity

The patient may have to change their fluid intake or stop taking certain medications before the test. They may need to come to the clinic with a full bladder.


Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If the consultation leads to a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, treatment will aim to keep high blood sugar levels under control.

For a bacterial kidney infection, the typical course of treatment is antibiotic and pain reliever therapy.

If the cause is an overactive bladder, a drug known as an anticholinergic may be used. These prevent involuntary abnormal contractions of the detrusor muscle that occur in the bladder wall. If necessary, drug therapy will be prescribed and supervised by a physician. Behavioral skills training can also help.

Bladder training and exercises

Other treatments address frequent urination rather than an underlying cause. These include:

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.

[irp posts = ”110499 ″ name =” Weak pelvic floor and 7 simple exercises to strengthen it ”]Biofeedback – Used in conjunction with Kegel exercises, this allows the patient to be more aware of how their body works. This increased awareness can help the patient improve control of their pelvic muscles.

Bladder training: This involves training the bladder to hold urine longer. The training generally lasts 2-3 months.

Monitoring fluid intake : This may show that heavy drinking at certain times is the main cause of frequent urination.


Eating a balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle can help avoid frequent urination . This may mean limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and eliminating foods that can irritate the bladder or act as diuretics, such as chocolate, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. Eating foods rich in fiber can also help reduce constipation. This can indirectly improve urine flow through the urethra, as a constipated rectum can put pressure on the urinary bladder, urethra, or both.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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