Frequent urination often indicates an underlying medical condition

An increase in the number of trips to the bathroom - day or night - is a signal it's time to see a physician.

Frequent urination often indicates an underlying medical condition. With proper diagnosis and treatment, it's possible to return to normal urinary habits.

The May issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers some of the common causes of frequent urination:

  • Urinary tract infections: Symptoms of a bacterial infection of the bladder or the urethra - the tube that allows urine to flow out of the body from the bladder - can include burning with urination, foul-smelling urine, fever and pelvic pain.
  • Side effect of medication: Diuretics and other medications can increase urinary frequency.
  • Age-related changes: Weakening of the muscles of the bladder, urethra and pelvic floor many lower the amount of the urine the bladder can store as well as the ability to hold or properly eliminate urine.
  • Prostate problems: For men, an enlarged or infected prostate can lead to urgency and frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Radiation treatment: Treating cancers near the bladder (rectum or pubic bone cancers) may damage the bladder wall. The urgency or frequency that may result usually diminishes within a few weeks to a year.
  • Bladder problems: Frequent or urgent urination can be an early sign of bladder cancer. Bladder stones or bladder inflammation also can cause frequent or painful urination.
  • Diabetes: When excess blood sugar is excreted into urine, it draws water from the body's tissues, increasing the need to urinate.
  • Kidney disease: Diseases that cause kidney decline may affect the kidneys' ability to concentrate urine, increasing the amount of urine produced.
  • A weak heart due to heart failure: A weak heart can't pump blood efficiently, causing fluids to build up in the body. The kidneys work to rid the body of excess fluid, causing large amounts of urine production and frequent urination.

The key treatment for frequent urination is addressing the underlying condition.

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