“I never get a full night’s sleep…I’ve got to get up two or three times a night.”
“As soon as I lie down, my bladder wakes up.”
“When it was just once a night, I could handle it. Now it’s once every hour!”
If any of these statements describe your experience, you might have a condition called nocturia. Getting up two or more times at night is the defining symptom of nocturia.
In “5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About An Unappreciated Organ: The Bladder,” there is a terrific description of what the bladder does, what part it plays in the urinary tract and some of the problems that can occur with the bladder. Here is an excerpt:
As the bladder fills, nerve signals are sent to the brain. Once it is full, those signals from the bladder are responded to by messages to the muscles of the urethra to relax and the muscles of the bladder to contract and squeeze. If all the signals are in the proper order, you have a normal urination…hopefully in the toilet. Although we don’t control our kidneys, we do have control over our bladders.
What happens when the signals go awry or muscles don’t respond at the right time?
One of the conditions that happen when signals go awry or muscles don’t respond at the right time is nocturia. It’s not a disease but more a symptom of something that’s going on in the body.
The causes of nocturia can be as simple as drinking too much fluids before bedtime or drinking the wrong type of liquids too close to bedtime. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks are diuretics (they make you go to the bathroom) and should be avoided before bed. Medications like diuretics (also called water pills), lithium and Vitamin D (if you take too much) can also cause nocturia.
However, there are also underlying illnesses that have nocturia as a symptom. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, edema (swelling) of the legs and sleep apnea may be factors.
Lower night-time bladder capacity (just not enough space in the bladder to hold all the urine) can be caused by bladder stones, bladder infections, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, bladder cancer and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (See “5 Facts About a Condition That is Just Not Discussed: BPH”).
Testing to determine what is going on
Your primary care physician may send you to a urologist to determine what is happening. Usually a urinalysis, which tests your urine for germs and blood, is done. A blood test to see if you have any underlying or undiagnosed health condition will also be requested. A bladder scan may be needed to find out the amount of urine that is left in your bladder after you have gone to the bathroom. A cystoscopy may be called for. In this test, a small camera is inserted to see what is going on inside your bladder. Finally, you may need to have urodynamic testing which will check the bladder on its storage capacity and how it releases urine.
Treatment depends on what your provider learns. There may be a simple solution which includes limiting your fluid intake around bedtime or reducing swelling in the legs with compression socks. Or you might need medication to treat whatever underlying problem you may have.
Remember, going to the bathroom two or more times per night is not normal. Get it checked out!
Published By :
May 06, 2018
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