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Alternative Names Return to topUrgent urination; Urinary frequency or urgency
Definition Return to top
Frequent urination means needing to urinate more often than usual. Urgent urination is a sudden, compelling urge to urinate, along with discomfort in your bladder.
A frequent need to urinate at night is called nocturia. Most people can sleep for 6 to 8 hours without having to urinate. Middle aged and older men often wake to urinate once in the early morning hours.
Causes Return to top
Together, frequent and urgent urination are classic signs of a urinary tract infection. Since inflammation reduces the bladder's capacity to hold urine, even small amounts of urine cause discomfort.
Diabetes, pregnancy, and prostate problems are other common causes of these symptoms.
Other causes include:
Less common causes:
Common causes of nighttime urination:
Home Care Return to top
Follow the therapy recommended by your doctor to treat the underlying cause of your urinary frequency or urgency. It may help to keep a diary of times and amounts of urine voided to bring with you to the doctor.
In some cases, you may experience some urinary incontinence for a period of time. You may need to take steps to protect your clothing and bedding.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your doctor right away if:
Also call your doctor if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Medical history questions may include:
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment is determined by the cause of the urgency and frequency. Antibiotics and medicine may be prescribed to lessen the discomfort, if needed.
Prevention Return to top
For nighttime urination, avoid excessive fluid before going to bed, particularly coffee, other caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.
References Return to top
Speakman MJ, Kirby RS, Joyce A, et al. Guideline for the primary care management of male lower urinary tract symptoms. BJU Int. 2004;93(7):985-990.
Bass PF 3rd, Jarvis JA, Mitchell CK. Urinary tract infections. Prim Care. 2003;30(1):41-61.Update Date: 5/22/2008 Updated by: Scott M. Gilbert, MD, Department of Urology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.