What is Nocturia?

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • I suffer from nocturia. It's believed that over two-thirds of people over 55 may also struggle with nocturia. They just aren't able to put a name to it.


    What is nocturia?

    Nocturia isn't actually a sleep disorder. A better description would be a sleep related problem. In simple words, nocturia is the need to get up to go to the bathroom to urinate several times a night. Having this happen once or twice a night is actually normal, but when this occurs four, five, or more times a night -- well, that's nocturia.



    The chief symptom is, of course, the frequency of night-time bathroom calls. This can happen only occasionally, or it can happen every night until the victim is exhausted and sleep deprived. Sometimes the urge to urinate becomes so urgent it is painful, but results in little urine being passed.

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    As we age, the bladder can't hold as much as it did when we were younger. Bladder or kidney infection can also bring on a bout of nocturia, but this should clear up once the infection has been treated. Disorders or diseases of the bladder are another cause.

    Medical problems including diabetes and heart failure can also lead to nocturia. In fact, frequently nocturia is a symptom of some other medical condition.



    See your doctor to ascertain if there is some other medical problem causing the condition. If so, do what is necessary to treat or control it. If there appears to be no other cause, the doctor may recommend diagnostic tests or prescribe medication.

    To help cope with the situation, cut back on fluids, especially in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine-laden drinks such as coffee and cola are the worst. If the doctor has prescribed a diuretic (water pill) for high blood pressure or some other ailment, try to take it early in the day.


    One last word of warning. Nocturia is sometimes a symptom of sleep apnea. A visit to a sleep lab for testing might be a good idea.

Published On: July 06, 2009