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.
Urgent urination; Urinary frequency or urgency
Together, frequent and urgent urination are classic signs of a urinary tract infection.
Diabetes, pregnancy, and prostate problems are other common causes of these symptoms.
Other causes include:
Less common causes:
Drinking too much before bedtime, especially caffeine or alcohol, can cause frequent urination at nighttime. Frequent urination may also simply just be a habit.
Follow the therapy recommended by your doctor to treat the underlying cause of your urinary frequency or urgency. It may help to keep a diary of times and amounts of urine voided to bring with you to the doctor.
In some cases, you may experience some urinary incontinence for a period of time. You may need to take steps to protect your clothing and bedding.
Call your doctor right away if:
Also call your doctor if:
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Medical history questions may include:
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment is determined by the cause of the urgency and frequency. Antibiotics and medicine may be prescribed to lessen the discomfort, if needed.
For nighttime urination, avoid excessive fluid before going to bed, particularly coffee, other caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.
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Foster RT Sr. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2008 Jun;35(2):235-48, viii.
Barry MJ, McNaughton-Collins M. Benign prostate disease and prostatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 130.