Is Your Bladder Keeping You Awake? Reasons Why You May Be Urinating Too Frequently Overnight

Posted on: 30 August 2016

If your bladder rudely disturbs your rest once a night, this is not an unusual annoyance. However, if you are heeding the potty call multiple times a night, it is important to determine the reason for your nocturia, or nighttime urination. You may actually be urinating more frequently around the clock, but since those nighttime urges disrupt your peaceful slumber, you are more likely to notice the issue as you sleepily stagger to the bathroom. Some causes have simple explanations that require little or no medical treatment. However, frequent urination can sometimes be a symptom of something more serious that must be addressed. Find out the causes of frequent urination so that you know when to schedule an examination with your physician.

What You Drink In Must Come Out

If you drink liquid in the evening, you will likely need to pass it during the night. The more you drink, the more times you may need to visit the bathroom. This is a normal bodily function. The following scenarios can prompt you to drink more in the evening:

  • Engaging in your workout routine late in the day, such as after work.
  • Spending a hot day outdoors, causing your body to perspire more.
  • Eating an evening meal of salty foods.
  • Consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages in the evening, both of which can act as diuretics.

Occasional increases in fluid intake, such as following an evening workout, are easy enough to identify, but if you are experiencing consistent increased thirst, it is time to consult with your doctor.

Diabetes Symptoms

Increased thirst and increased urination are classic signs of diabetes, a metabolic condition in which your body is unable to produce or utilize insulin efficiently. As glucose levels build up in the bloodstream, the excess is filtered out by the kidneys and expelled in the urine. This increased urination prompts increased thirst as the body's attempt to stave off dehydration. If you are noticing an increase in your fluid intake and urination, your physician will order laboratory tests to rule out diabetes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, the symptoms can be controlled with a diet and insulin drugs. 


If you are pregnant, you may need to urinate more frequently during the first and third trimesters. Hormonal changes and an increase in the flow of blood through your kidneys result in an increase in urine production during the first trimester. Although the need to urinate levels off during the second trimester, you may be revisited by the urge to urinate frequently as your baby continues to grow and your expanding uterus puts increased pressure on the neighboring bladder during the final trimester. Since this is the natural occurrence as women progress through their pregnancies, you will just have to ride this out. You can lessen the need for nocturnal urination by consuming most of your daily fluids before the late afternoon hours. 

Prostate Enlargement

If you are a man who is 50 years of age or older, you may have begun to notice an increased need to get up at night to empty your bladder. You are not alone. Prostate enlargement affects all men as they age. Prostate enlargement, which is also known as benign prostate hyperplasia, puts pressure around the urethra, which is the structure through which urine passes during urination. Since the urethra becomes narrower, the flow of urine is less efficient, resulting in a more frequent need to urinate. There is no cure for prostate enlargement, but your doctor may prescribe treatment options to alleviate your symptom of frequent urination.

Overactive Bladder

In a normally functioning bladder, an accumulation of urine prompts the urge to empty the bladder, sending nerve impulses to contract the bladder muscles so that the urine can evacuate the body through the urethra. If you have an overactive bladder, these impulses can strike suddenly and involuntarily at any time, even if the level of urine in the bladder is fairly low. This translates to sudden and uncontrollable urges to urinate, including at night, and can lead to bouts of urinary incontinence. Once your doctor has determined that you have an overactive bladder, he or she will recommend a treatment plan to manage your bladder's activity and control your symptoms.

Congestive Heart Failure

When the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, fluid accumulates in your body, especially in your legs. When you turn in for the night, the fluid accumulation in your elevated legs returns to your bloodstream, providing more flow to the kidneys and resulting in the need for nighttime urination. If you are experiencing nocturia and any other symptoms of congestive heart failure, see your physician as soon as possible for an evaluation and treatment.

Other Causes

There are a number of other potential causes for increased urination. Some of these causes include the following:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Sleep apnea
  3. Prolapsed bladder
  4. Multiple sclerosis
  5. Parkinson's disease
  6. Kidney infection
  7. Urinary tract infection
  8. Bladder cancer
  9. Uterine fibroids
  10. Medications, especially diuretics used to treat hypertension and heart disease
  11. Excessive consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages

Don't accept nocturia as an annoyance that you have to live with if you don't have to. If you are waking up to urinate more than once at night, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your latest urination patterns so that serious medical conditions can be ruled out and so that treatment to control these rude awakenings can be implemented. Contact a clinic like Snow Creek Medical Center for more info.