If nocturia is keeping you up at night, it's time to find out the cause and what you can do to sleep better … and feel better.
Nocturia is a medical term that describes a condition many people are aware of or have experienced first hand: the need to get up several times a night—usually two or more—in order to urinate. The condition occurs far more commonly among older adults than younger people. Because nocturia interferes with a good night’s sleep there can be problems with sleepiness or exhaustion during the day. If you’re driving or working around equipment, that’s a problem in its own right because it puts you at a higher risk for injury. But sometimes there’s more to consider.
Why it’s important to talk with a physician
In a good number of cases, getting up to use the bathroom during the night can be caused by something as straightforward as drinking too much fluid before bedtime. It can also be the result of certain medications you might be taking, too much caffeine or alcohol or simply a reduced bladder capacity. In addition, nocturia in men can be related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP), also called enlarged prostate. With women, it can occur as the result of childbirth or menopause.
Beyond these fairly easily solved problems, however, are some potentially more serious ones because nocturia can also be the side effect of a number of conditions that can alter the way your body functions. These conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Vascular disease
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Kidney infections
- Kidney failure
- Prostate cancer
- Sleep apnea
Because these conditions need prompt treatment be sure to discuss your symptoms with your primary care doctor. Once she or he has determined that you may
have a condition requiring more evaluation you should
be referred to a urologist or other specialist.
Treatment options for nocturia depend on the underlying causes. In some cases, treatment can be as simple and easy as just changing some habit. This kind of approach, called behavioral therapies, includes things like restricting fluids in the evening, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, taking medications (such as diuretics) earlier in the day and elevating the legs.
There are also medications that can be used to treat nocturia as well as surgical procedures when appropriate. But the most important thing you can do is to get a diagnosis that will set the direction for treatment, especially if your nocturia is a side effect of a more serious condition.
If you’re experiencing nocturia, take the next step
For a general overview of nocturia, visit riversideonline and click on the MayoClinic.com Health Library. For a personalized evaluation talk with your family doctor or call Riverside Hampton Roads Urology at (757) 873-1374 (Newport News) or (757) 253-0051 (Williamsburg). The Physicians of Hampton Roads Urology offer patient-centered care for a full spectrum of urological conditions including nocturia in both men and women.