Nocturia is defined as waking up one or more times during the night to urinate, according to a 2017 article published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. When sleep loss due to nocturia leads to falls, reduced work productivity, symptoms of depression, or other problems, it is called clinically relevant nocturia. In other words, it affects your quality of life and requires proper treatment.
However, it may be helpful to consider nocturia as a possible symptom, not a disease. Nocturia often means that another underlying health problem is present, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), trouble sleeping, or a bladder problem. And any underlying condition causing your nocturia will need to be treated to prevent nighttime awakenings and regain a better quality of sleep. In this article, learn about the different reasons that trigger your need to urinate at night and when it’s recommended to see a healthcare provider.
Urinary tract infections often cause nocturia.
Nocturia is a well-known symptom of urinary tract infection (UTI) — the most common type of infection seen by outpatient healthcare providers, according to a 2019 article in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology. Urinary tract infections cause inflammation and irritation of the lining of the urinary tract, which can lead to the following symptoms:
- Sensation of pain or burning when urinating.
- A frequent need to pee.
- Absolute need to urinate despite the emptiness of the bladder.
- Presence of blood in the urine.
- Pressure or cramps in the groin or lower abdomen.
If you have any of these symptoms in addition to nocturia, be sure to let your healthcare professional know so they can check for a UTI.
Hypertension and nocturia are closely related.
Research presented at the Japanese Circulation Society’s 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting links high blood pressure to nighttime trips to the bathroom. “Our study indicates that if you need to urinate at night – known as nocturia – you may have high blood pressure and/or excess fluid in your body,” the author said. study, Satoshi Konno, MD, in a press release issued by the European Society of Cardiology.
Nocturia can usually be considered a symptom of hypertension, but other factors may also be involved. In particular, hypertension is commonly treated with diuretic drugs which, like any other type of diuretic, have the side effect of frequent urination.
If you are currently taking diuretic medications for your high blood pressure, but nocturia is affecting your sleep or quality of life, be sure to let your healthcare provider know.
Bladder problems can also cause nocturia.
A condition called nocturnal polyuria may explain why you can’t sleep through the night without taking a pee break. “Nocturnal polyuria is a syndrome in which the usual day/night ratio of urine output is altered,” according to a report from the American Society of Nephrology. Indeed, people suffering from nocturnal polyuria have a nocturnal production of more than 33% of the daily amount of urine.
Congestive heart failure, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, chronic kidney disease, and obstructive sleep apnea are some of the conditions that can lead to nocturnal polyuria.
Some people with nocturnal polyuria also have low bladder capacity, which means their bladder does not have enough “storage” for the amount of urine produced. A number of factors can cause low bladder capacity, including infections and inflammation.
Another condition called urethral stricture disease can cause nocturia. It is a swelling, infection or injury that produces a scar that blocks or slows the flow of urine through the urethra, the tube that allows urine to come out of the body.
If the cause of nocturia is unknown, a healthcare professional may perform a cystoscopy. This is a procedure that examines the inside of your bladder by inserting a thin tube with a lens into the urethra.