Frequent or urgent urination

  • Definition

    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.

    Alternative Names

    Urgent urination; Urinary frequency or urgency


    Common Causes

    Together, frequent and urgent urination are classic signs of a urinary tract infection.

    Diabetes, pregnancy, and prostate problems are other common causes of these symptoms.

    Other causes include:

    • Anxiety
    • Enlarged prostate
    • Interstitial cystitis
    • Medicines such as diuretics
    • Overactive bladder syndrome
    • Prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland)
    • Stroke and other brain or nervous system diseases
    • Tumor or mass in the pelvis
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Vaginitis

    Less common causes:

    • Bladder cancer
    • Bladder dysfunction
    • Radiation therapy to the pelvis, used to treat certain cancers

    Drinking too much before bedtime, especially caffeine or alcohol, can cause frequent urination at nighttime. Frequent urination may also simply just be a habit.