Under normal circumstances, a person may need to pass urine four to eight times a day. Generally, our bladder has an ability to store urine until it is convenient to go to the toilet. But if a person urinates more than eight times a day, he is either drinking too much water or it is a sign of some kind of health problem. On an average, a person can sleep 6 to 8 hours without the need to urinate as the urine decreases in amount and becomes concentrated at night. The condition in which a person develops an urge or need to urinate at night not once but many times, is termed as nocturia. Urinary frequency and urinary urgency (sudden urge to urinate) are more common in older men.
Feeling a frequent need to urinate can be a symptom of various health disorders. Here are certain conditions that may be responsible for causing this urinary problem in men.
- Urinary Tract Infection: Frequent or increased urination is a common symptom of the urinary tract infections (UTI), which occur due to bacterial invasion of the urinary tract. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli cause tissue damage and can spread up to the urethra, bladder, and sometimes kidneys also. Stress, weak immune system, poor diet, sexual intercourse with an infected person, etc. are some factors that lead to UTI in men.
- Diabetes: The need to urinate more than usual could be an early sign of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Due to increased buildup of glucose in the blood, the body tries to get rid of it through urine, which sometimes also results in dehydration in men.
- Prostate Problems: Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia is another contributory factor. The enlarged prostate presses against the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and obstructs the flow of urine. This causes the bladder wall to become irritable which leads to bladder contraction even when it contains minimal amounts of urine, resulting in a frequent need to urinate.
- Interstitial Cystitis: Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a painful condition that occurs due to inflammation of the tissues of the bladder wall. Characterized by pain or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, this condition often includes symptoms like urgent or frequent need to urinate.
- Diuretic Use: The medications that are prescribed for people diagnosed with high blood pressure or fluid retention, help to flush out excess fluids from the body, thereby contributing to increased urination.
- Neurological Disorders: Stroke or other neurological diseases that can damage the nerves that supply the bladder can cause problems with bladder function, including frequent, painful and sudden urges to urinate.
- Radiation Treatment: Radiation therapy given around the bladder area for treatment of bladder cancer, can weaken the wall of the bladder. The effect is such that it takes a year for the voiding pattern to get back to normalcy.
- Other Causes: Medical conditions such as bladder cancer, bladder dysfunction, overactive bladder and congenital heart failure can also make one susceptible to this urinary problem. Drinking alcohol and other caffeinated beverages are some other probable causes.
- Age: This is an important criterion as, with age the muscles of the pelvic area and bladder are bound to weaken, and a person is not able to hold the same quantity of urine as he used to do, at a young age.
Depending upon the patient's medical history and physical exam, the doctor may ask him to conduct tests like:
- Urinalysis: It is a microscopic examination which detects and measures different compounds that pass through the urine.
- Cystometry: It is a test that measures the pressure inside the bladder to determine how well the bladder can hold or release urine.
- Cystoscopy: It is a test in which the doctor uses a thin, lighted instrument called cystoscope to view the insides of the bladder and urethra.
- Neurological Tests: These are the diagnostic tests that help the doctor to confirm or exclude any nerve disorder.
- Ultrasonography: It is a diagnostic imaging test used to have a clear view of an internal body structure.
The treatment primarily depends upon the severity of the condition and its underlying cause.
- Medications like Detrol LA, Ditropan, Enablex, Oxytrol, Sanctura XR, Tofranil, and Vesicare can help control blood sugar levels and overactive bladder.
- Bladder training, or some pelvic muscle exercises help strengthen the muscles around the bladder and urethra, which will improve bladder control and reduce urinary urgency and frequency.
- Foods that can trigger or irritate the bladder or act as diuretic like caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, tomato-based products, artificial sweeteners, etc., should be avoided.
- While you are undergoing treatment, try to make use of quality absorbent pads to avoid any embarrassment for yourself.
- When medication or behavioral therapy do not serve the purpose, then one may have to opt for surgical options that are available.
Frequent urination in men is not a life-threatening condition but it can lead to other health complications, if not treated in time. Hence, following a healthy diet comprising fiber rich foods and keeping a track of your daily fluid intake can help prevent this disorder.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and is not meant to replace the advice of a health care expert. Please consult your doctor for any medical advice you may need.