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Medical Myth: Frequent urination at night is just a normal sign of aging

by Arkansas Urology on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

 

Everyone desires to wake up in the morning feeling rested and refreshed. But all too often the urge to use the bathroom interrupts our peaceful sleep. Nighttime urination is definitely more common in people over the age of 60. As you age the body produces less of a hormone that helps you retain fluid.

Also, as you get older you are more likely to have other health problems that cause you to need to use the bathroom at night. In men, an enlarged prostate is a common cause. It is not usually serious, but it does keep you from emptying your bladder. After menopause, women produce less estrogen. This can cause changes in the urinary tract that cause you to have to go to the bathroom more often.

Aging is not, however, the only contributing factor to nighttime urination. Other causes include chronic urinary tract infections (UTI), drinking large amounts of fluids before bed (especially alcohol or caffeinated drinks), and taking prescription medications that exaggerate urination (diuretics). Some medical conditions like diabetes or liver failure can also cause your body to make too much urine.

Sometimes it is not the urge to go to the bathroom that causes you to wake up but rather restless leg syndrome, chronic pain, hot flashes or sleep apnea that might actually be the culprit in awakening you. Of course, once you are awake, you will feel the need to go to the bathroom. Sometimes by addressing those types of problems you can even solve the nighttime urination issue as well.

As you get older you may accept the new normal of getting up to go to the bathroom at night, but you should also discuss it with your doctor. There are treatment options available depending on the underlying cause. If you have tried to control the frequent trips to the bathroom on your own and it continues to worsen, you should definitely consult your doctor. If you have to go to the bathroom more than twice during your six to eight hours of sleep, you may have a condition called nocturia. Serious conditions such as bladder or prostate cancer could be the cause.