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Last updated October 23, 2016 (originally published February 23, 2011)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist and
Susan Callahan, Associate Editor

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other
members of our Editorial Board.]

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But what does it mean if
you’ve got to go all the time? Frequent urination means you need
to urinate more often than usual although the amount of urine
you produce is the same or less than normal.   About 31 % of us
suffer from frequent urination, doctors from Winchester Hospital
in Massachusetts say. But when is frequent urination a symptom
of a serious medical problem? In other words, when is frequent
urination dangerous to your health? And are there any foods,
herbs or other natural remedies that can help normalize frequent

How Many Times Is it Normal to Urinate Each Day?

Most Americans urinate about 7 to 8 times a day. According to a
2002 study from Loyola University, women tend to visit the
bathroom an average of 8 times a day.  Men urinate 7 times a day
on average, according to a 2004 study from the University of

Types of Frequent Urination Problems

When you have to urinate frequently, the condition is called
"polyuria". When you’re up frequently during the night the
condition is called "nocturnal polyuria" or "nocturia".

Nocturia is a common condition, equally common in men and
women, and you are likely to feel the urge for frequent bathroom
visits sometime in your life, most often as an older person.
According to 2010 research from University Medical Center
Utrecht, The Netherlands, one in five younger people suffer
s from

Up to 16 percent of men and 18 percent of women aged 20 to 40
go to the bathroom two or more times each night. Up to 60
percent of men and women over 70 go more than twice. Statistics
on frequent urination in the day are difficult to find but a
significant number of people find they are paying too many visits
to the restroom every day.

In addition to frequent urination, many people also suffer from
urgent urination, when you’ve got to go
right now – a sudden,
compelling urge.

Frequent urination can cause problems at work and socializing.
The constant fear of needing to use the bathroom can affect your
everyday life and happiness. And nocturia can cause many
sleepless nights. But is it just an embarrassing inconvenience or
does frequent urination signal something more serious?

Nocturia Increases Your Risk of Death

Nocturia increases your mortality risk, according to a 2010 report
from researchers at the New England Research Institutes in
Watertown, Mass.  

After examining the health records of nearly 16,000 men and
women between the ages of 20 and 64 aged 20, researchers
discovered that that those who woke up to urinate two or more
times a night had a 100% higher risk of mortality than those who
made less than two nighttime bathroom trips. They died twice as

For those over 65, the news was only slightly better.

"In the younger age group, those who reported having nocturia
had roughly twice the risk of mortality as those without, while in
the older age group nocturia increased the risk in the range of 20
to 30 percent,"reported lead researcher  Varant Kupelian.

Causes of Frequent Urination

Frequent urination and the sudden urge to pee are commonly
signs of a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are
those that affect the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra and
include cystitis and kidney infection. Bladder stones can produce
the frequent need to urinate.

Frequent urination, especially at night, can indicate that you have
diabetes. (Read more about the
ideal diet for diabetes.)

Other common causes of a frequent need to urinate include
anxiety and overactive bladder syndrome. Pregnancy can bring
on a need to urinate frequently, as can prostate conditions.

Uncommonly, a frequent need to urinate can be a
sign of stroke,
a tumor in the pelvis, bladder cancer or bladder dysfunction.
Depending on the condition that causes frequent urination, you
may also experience loss of bladder control, painful urination, or
unusual urine color.

Needing to get up at night to urinate at least twice is associated
also with a higher risk for  sleep apnea and
depression, according
to a 2012 study lead by Dr. Deborah Lightner of the Mayo Clino

In men, frequent urination is often associated with enlarged
prostate or decreased prostate function.

Is Frequent Urination Dangerous to Your Health?

According to 2010 research presented at the 105th Annual
Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association in San
Francisco, nocturia is associated with increased incidences of

, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and
antidepressant use in patients of all ages.

A study from the New England Research Institutes, Watertown
showed that both men and women with nocturnia had an
increased risk of mortality compared to those without nocturnia.
The American Urological Association suggests a visit to your
physician if you are suffering from frequent urination, to clear up
any underlying health problems.

Also provide yourself with a clear, lit path to the bathroom to
avoid any trips and falls in the dark.

But not all news about frequent urination is bad. A 2008 study
from the University of Huelva found a direct association between
the number of times you get up in the night to go to the
bathroom and increased protection against bladder cancer.
Carcinogenic agents, such as tobacco, are kept in the urine for
long periods of time if you don’t use the bathroom overnight.
Researchers suggest that while the best advice is to avoid
exposure to carcinogenic agents, you could lower your risk of
bladder cancer by increasing the frequency of urination. Analysis
showed that people who got up at night at least twice had a 40
to 59 percent reduced risk of developing
bladder cancer.

Frequent urination, however, is not something everyone wants to
encourage. According to the Mayo Clinic, frequent urination often
indicates an underlying medical condition and requires a trip to
the doctor. Sometimes you need to visit a doctor urgently – if you
have a fever, pain in the back or the side of your body, vomiting
or shaking chills, a bloody or cloudy urine or discharge. Get
checked out if you also have increased thirst or appetite, fatigue
or weight loss. (Read more about
urine color and what it means.)

But for some, the cause of frequent urination is more simple. Are
you drinking too much before bedtime, especially caffeine or
alcohol? Are you taking diuretic drugs? These can make you want
to go more often than usual. We’ve looked at available scientific
evidence to find cures for frequent urination to help you sleep
and live more freely.

Cures for Frequent Urination

Often it is simply a matter of cutting down the amount of fluid
you drink before bedtime or changing the medication that causes
frequent urination as a side effect. According to a 2010 study
from the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, in order to
treat nocturia doctors should use frequency-volume charts to see
if your nocturia is a result of excessive urine production at night
or of small volumes of urine (indicating bladder storage
problems). The following methods may also help reduce the urge
to visit the restroom.

Homeopathy Treats Frequent Urination

Women who develop bladder infections following sexual
intercourse that make you want to urinate more often may
benefit from homeopathic remedy Staphysagria 30c. A 1974
study by Ustianowski PA “A clinical trial of Staphysagria in
postcoital cystitis” found 90 percent of the 200 women studies
stopped developing bladder-related symptoms.

Quercetin is Good for Frequent Urination?

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid and is reputed to have anti-
inflammatory properties, making it a benefit to urinary tract
infections. A 2001 study from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, UCLA
School of Medicine, California found 500mg of quercetin twice a
day for four weeks proved to be clinically effective in treating
interstitial cystitis and the accompanying urge to urinate.

Changing Your Diet May Help Stop Frequent Urination

As well as making sure you’re not knocking back five cups of tea
right before bedtime, or significantly overloading on water,
changes to your diet may make a difference to how often you get
urinary tract infections and how often you need to use the

A 1999 review from Pennsylvania State University, College of
Medicine found the most frequently complained-about foods are
coffee, chocolate, soda, citrus fruits and tomatoes.


Caffeine CanTrigger Frequent Urination

Caffeine and caffeinated drinks can trigger frequent urination,
according to several studies. One 2011 study from the Faculty of
Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand
found that those of us who drink 4.5 mg/kg of caffeine a day  
can expect to experience more "urgency" to urinate more and in
fact to urinate more frequently.

The study  has some glaring limitations, however. First, all the
participants were people who already had overactive bladders.
Second, the amount of caffeine that was administered was 4.5
mg/kg of body weight. Thus, for a person weighing 150 pounds
--- that's 68 kilograms  --- the study would require a
consumption of 306 milligrams of caffeine a day. That's about the
amount of caffeine in three 7-ounce cups of coffee or three
whole liters of Coca-cola or Pepsi. ]

See if cutting these alleged offenders from your diet benefits you.
A diet rich in fiber may also help cut down bathroom trips.

Drinking a Bit of Water at Bedtime Does Not Cause Nocturia

Surprisingly, drinking water just before you go to sleep does not
cause frequent urination during the night, studies show. A 2005
study from doctors at the Birmingham/Atlanta Veterans Affairs
Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center found no
connection between fluid intake before bedtime and nocturia.

Guided Imagery Treats Frequent Urination?

Could focusing all your attention on your bladder help stop you
needing the bathroom so often? A 2008 study from William
Beaumont Hospital, Department of Urology, Royal Oak believes so.

Researchers made patients listen to a script designed to
concentrate on healing the bladder and quieting the nerves. The
results of the randomized controlled pilot study were positive, but
there was no placebo comparison for verification.


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