Nocturia is a sleep disorder condition that makes a person need to urinate frequently at night, particularly while he or she is sleeping. The excessive urination can lead to sleeping problems, a weakened immune system and long-term complications associated with sleep deprivation, such as depression and anxiety, if serious and not treated properly. Nocturia primarily affects patients over the age of 60, when muscle function in the bladder has typically weakened. Nonetheless, younger patients are also at risk. Many times, the nocturia symptoms (mainly waking up several times each night with the urge to urinate) will worsen with age. For example, number of urges to urinate during the night may start at the age of 60 and double after the patient reach the age of 70.

Nocturnal Polyuria and Other Possible Nocturia Causes

One of the most significant causes of nocturia is the presence of nocturnal polyuria, a malfunction in a person’s body that causes too much urine to be produced while a patient is sleeping. The bladder fills up to the point that the pressure in the lower abdomen and the brain’s urge to relieve that pressure ultimately wakes up the patient from deep sleep cycles. How much excess urine is produced in a patient with nocturnal polyuria depends on the age of the patient, but can vary between 10 and 40 percent of what is considered to be a normal amount of urine to be produced every 24 hours. When overproduction of urine occurs both at night and during the day, the condition is called global polyuria.

Men and women also experience nocturia differently as a result of each having a unique set of urinary system organs—while women may develop nocturia after their organs change post-childbirth or post-menopause, men may be experiencing excessive urination as a result of an enlarged prostate gland. Regardless, though, there are certain factors that increase the chances that a patient, man or woman, will develop nocturia—including lifestyle choices such as drinking liquids before goig to bed, any medications taken, the amount of caffeine or alcohol consumed, any history of treatment for bladder problems such as urinary incontinence (also known as overactive bladder) or urinary tract infection and the body’s natural functionality such as the way fluid is distributed among organs. Men and women affected with an underlying health or sleep condition, such as diabetes, heart disease and sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome and insomnia may also experience nocturia as a symptom.

Nocturia Treatment Options

Before consulting a doctor or sleep expert for nocturia treatment, you should keep notes for a few days to record the details of your nocturia case. If the doctor knows when you’ve been urinating at night, how many times per night you feel the urge to urinate, how much urine is being expelled from the body during these sessions and any drinks and medications you take regularly—it will be much more likely that proper diagnosis and treatment can follow.

Physical exams, which oftentimes includes the patients needing to give a urine sample, may be taken to test the chemicals in the urine and maybe figure out where it’s coming from inside the body. If you have a medical condition that causes you to urinate excessively because you constantly feel that your bladder has not been completely emptied every time you use the restroom, an ultrasound machine may also be used to examine the bladder without invasive surgery.