Frequent urination means needing to urinate more often than usual. Urgent urination is a sudden, compelling urge to urinate, along with discomfort in your bladder.
A frequent need to urinate at night is called nocturia. Most people can sleep for 6 to 8 hours without having to urinate. Middle aged and older men often wake to urinate once in the early morning hours.
Radiation therapy to the pelvis, used to treat certain cancers
Stroke and other brain or nervous system diseases
Tumor or growth in the pelvis
Drinking too much before bedtime, especially caffeine or alcohol, can cause frequent urination at nighttime. Frequent urination may also just be a habit.
Follow the therapy recommended by your health care provider to treat the cause of your urinary frequency or urgency. It may help to keep a diary of the times and amounts of urine you void to bring with you to your health care provider.
In some cases, you may experience urinary incontinence for a period of time. You may need to take steps to protect your clothing and bedding.
For nighttime urination, avoid drinking too much fluid before going to bed. Reduce the amount of coffee, other caffeinated beverages, and alcohol you drink.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider right away if:
You have fever, back or side pain, vomiting, or shaking chills
You have increased thirst or appetite, fatigue, or sudden weight loss
Also call your health care provider if:
You have urinary frequency or urgency, but you are not pregnant and you are not drinking excessive amounts of fluid
You have incontinence or have changed your lifestyle because of your symptoms
You have bloody or cloudy urine
There is a discharge from the penis or vagina
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Medical history questions may include:
When did the increased urinary frequency start?
How many times each day are you urinating?
Are you urinating more often during the day or at night?
Do you have an increased amount of urine?
Has there been a change in the color of your urine? Does it appear lighter, darker, or more cloudy than usual? Have you noticed any blood?
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.