Ellen had never had bathroom issues. But as she approached 45, she realized she was using the bathroom more and more often during work, often racing to the women’s room only to release a small amount of urine. She chalked it up to stress for a while, but when it continued to happen, and even started causing her to be late to meetings, she started to take more notice.
“I thought I was too young for bladder issues,” she said. “But then I went to my doctor and he told me he sees this problem all the time in women my age.”
Going to the bathroom 6-8 times per day is normal, and if you are very active and drinking lots of water, even 10 times a day may be natural for you. But if you’re running to the bathroom more than that, you may want to visit your doctor to see if you have one of the conditions below. The need to use the bathroom often is very common, and can happen for various reasons. Read on for some of the more common reasons you may be rushing to the bathroom more often than you used to.
Possible Causes of Frequent Urination
Overactive bladder, also known as OAB, is the classic cause of needing to use the bathroom frequently. People with this condition not only need to use the bathroom frequently, but often times it feels very urgent, like they need to go right NOW. Overactive bladder is caused by spasms that occur in the bladder, causing your bladder to contract involuntarily, even when your bladder may not be full, or you just went to the bathroom. There are many treatments available for overactive bladder, including behavioral modifications, medications, and simple in-office procedures.
Urinary Tract Infection
Most people have, or likely will, experience at least one urinary tract infection in their life. Urinary tract infections often include a burning sensation when you urinate, as well as a frequent need to urinate that can sometimes include bladder leakage. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent them, and if you do get one, they are easily treatable (even from home!).
When the minerals in your bladder become too concentrated, they can develop into stones that can lead to pain, bloody urine, and frequent urination. These stones typically pass out of the body on their own, but sometimes need to be surgically removed by a doctor if they become lodged in your bladder. Be sure to stay well hydrated and eat a healthy diet to ensure your urine does not become too concentrated.
Frequent trips to the bathroom are a classic sign of diabetes. If you have a history of diabetes in your family, or are worried that this may be a sign of the disease, consult your doctor right away. If you find that you do have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s important to get it under control. Many times this can be accomplished with changes to diet and exercise, but medications are also available if you need them.
If you’re carrying around extra weight, it may be contributing to you frequent bathroom trips. Those excess pounds place extra pressure on your bladder, which can cause you to need the bathroom more frequently. Your diet may also be contributing. Try keeping a bladder diary and start incorporating more exercise into your routine. Among other things, you may see your bladder health problems improve.
Growing a baby is an incredible thing. But not so much for your bladder. A growing baby and extra weight put pressure on your bladder, and can also weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Many pregnant women find themselves using the restroom more than they used to, which is completely normal. Many times this resolves after childbirth, but it you’ve had a baby and still find you’re racing to the bathroom every half hour, consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. They’re specialized in helping you to maintain the health of your pelvic floor muscles (the ones that support your bladder, bowel and uterus) and can help you strengthen your muscles so that you don’t constantly need the bathroom.
Changing hormones can wreak havoc on your body, and your bladder. Menopause can cause you to lose elasticity in your bladder, leading to irritation. It can also impact the nerves that control your bladder, leading to Overactive Bladder. Plus, over time, our pelvic floor muscles naturally weaken if not properly cared for, which can cause you to need the bathroom more often than not. Again, a physical therapist can be a life saver here, helping to show you moves that can strengthen your pelvic floor and get things back to normal.
When a man’s prostate becomes too big, it can cause a blockage of urine, which results in an overactive bladder. Men may experience nighttime awakenings to use the bathroom (nocturia), frequent trips to the bathroom, or even a weak urine stream. There are medications that can help with this, and in more severe cases, surgery may be an option.
While less common, frequent urination can be a sign of bladder cancer. Other symptoms of bladder cancer may also include the presence of blood in the urine. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor right away to determine the cause.
IC is a condition that is often hard to diagnose, since it has many of the same symptoms as other conditions. Symptoms typically include overactive bladder (urinary urgency and frequency), but also pelvic pain, which typically isn’t a symptom of OAB. Most IC patients also do not experience urinary incontinence, which is more common in OAB patients. If you feel you may have Interstitial Cystitis, talk with your doctor about the different tests that can be done to diagnose the condition, and the treatment options available to you.
Nocturia is defined as the need to awaken more than 1 x per night to use the bathroom. While there are many things that may contribute to nocturia, it’s typically caused by nocturia polyuria, which is when the kidneys produce too much urine. While waking up a few times to use the bathroom may seem harmless, it can have a very negative effect on quality of life due to lost sleep and resulting grogginess the following day.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options for frequent urination. The first step is to identify the root cause of the problem. If you find yourself needing to use the bathroom more than 8-10 times per day, talk to your doctor about it. He’ll help you find a diagnosis for the condition and together, you can find a way to treat it.