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Do I Have Nocturia?

Sarah Jenkins

 Do I Have Nocturia?

It’s 2 am and you’re up to use the bathroom. Again. Sound familiar? If your bladder is constantly waking you up to relieve itself, you may suffer from a condition called nocturia. 

Nocturia is defined as the need to use the bathroom 2 or more times in one night. It’s a very common condition – in fact, 1 in 3 adults over the age of 30 have it – although it tends to occur more as we age.  Nocturia causes us to wake up multiple times at night, disrupting our sleep, which can cause some serious side effects. The interrupted sleep caused by nocturia can cause real problems with your quality of life and your health. Many people dealing with nocturia experience fatigue, poor physical function, and decreased cognitive function due to insufficient sleep. Nocturia is also associated with an increased risk for falls (especially worrisome for older adults) and mortality, so it’s a good idea to get it treated. 

The causes of nocturia can vary, but it’s most often caused by nocturnal polyuria, a condition where the kidneys produce too much urine.  That’s why treating nocturia at the source is so important.  If you’re only focused on treating, say, overactive bladder, you’re only targeting the bladder, not the kidneys. In reality, both conditions should be treated to effectively manage their respective symptoms.

How do I know if I have nocturia?

If you often wake up 2 or more times in one night to use the bathroom, you probably have nocturia. You may also notice that you feel groggy during the day and your productivity may even be impacted.  If this sounds like you, don’t let it go untreated.

Start by keep a bladder diary for a few days to see if you can spot any trends. (Download our free bladder diary for nocturia here.) You may notice that you’re consuming a certain type or quantity of food or drink on the nights your nocturia occurs. Or maybe a specific medication that you take at night is the culprit. Track your activity for a few days then make some adjustments on your findings to see if it makes a difference.  Some things you may want to try include:

  • Limiting fluids a few hours before bed. This includes water rich foods as well.
  • Avoiding alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • Elevating your legs, or wearing compression stockings (if you notice you have any ankle or calve swelling during the day, indicating fluid build up in the legs.

If none of these behavioral options work, you’ll need to make a visit to your doctor to rule out some of the other potential causes of your nocturia. Your doctor can also prescribe a medication specifically for nocturia to help eliminate your nighttime bathroom trips (Noctiva, the first FDA approved treatment of nocturia has recently become available).

Need help finding a specialist near you? Use our specialist finder!

References: 1. Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Donald L. Bilwise, Jens Peter Norgaard. The effect of nocturia on sleep. Sleep Med Review. 2011 April; 15(2): 91-97. 2. Kupelian V, Wei JT, O'Leary MP, Norgaard JP, Rosen RC, McKinlay JB. Nocturia and quality of life: results from the Boston Area Community Health Survey. Eur Urol. 2012;61(1):78-84. 3. Cappuccio FP, Cooper D, D'Elia L, Strazzullo P, Miller MA. Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and metoanalysis of prospective studies. Eur Heart J. 2011;32(12):1484-1492. 4. Fiske J, Scarpero HM, Xue X, Nitti VW. Degree of bother caused by nocturia in women. Neurourol Urodyn. 2004;23(2):130–3. 5. Ohayon MM. Nocturnal awakenings and comorbid disorders in the American general population. J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Nov;43(1):48–54.  6. Kobelt G, Borgstrom F, Mattiasson A. Productivity, vitality and utility in a group of healthy professionally active individuals with nocturia. BJU Int. 2003 Feb;91(3):190–5. 7. Nakagawa H, Ikeda Y, Niu K, Kaiho Y, Ohmori-Matsuda K, Nakaya N, et al. Does nocturia increase fall-related fractures and mortality in a community-dwelling elderly population aged 70 years and over? Results of a 3-year prospective cohort study in Japan. Neurourol Urodyn. 2008;27:674–5. 8. Asplund R. Hip fractures, nocturia, and nocturnal polyuria in the elderly. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2006 Nov;43(3):319–26. [PubMed] 9. Weiss JP. Prevalence of nocturnal polyuria in nocturia. J Urol. 2009;181(4):538.  10. Weiss JP, van Kerrebroeck PE, Klein BM, Norgaard JP. Excessive nocturnal urine production is a major contributing factor to the etiology of nocturia. J Urol. 2011;186(4):1358-1363.