Frequent urination is passing out urine more often than is the norm for a person. The number of times that a person urinates in a day can vary among individuals. In urinary frequency, there is a significant change in the normal pattern to the point where a person has to wake up at night to urinate (nocturia).
Urinary Frequency Causes
Frequent urination may be related to frequent or even constant urging which is at times not alleviated even after passing urine (tenesmus). At other times, the frequency may be related to polyuria where there is a large amount of urine (more than 3 liters) passed out in a day.
If the total urine volume output in a day is more than 3 liters, then the causes of polyuria should be investigated. With urinary frequency not related to polyuria, the output of urine in a day is normal (1 to 2 liters) or sometimes even lower than normal (less than 1 liter).
Urinary frequency from drinking large amounts of fluids or drinks with a diuretic action (tea, coffee, caffeinated soda or alcohol) is expected. If this has been excluded, then other causes of frequent urination needs to be investigated.
Certain causes of urinary frequency may affect both genders and all age groups :
- Often referred to as a nervous bladder, urinary frequency is a common symptom associated with anxiety.
- Urinary frequency may also be seen with depression and sleep disturbances – insomnia, sleep apnea.
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Reduced secretion of hormones from the adrenal glands.
- Other symptoms include severe fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea with/without vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure (hypotension), low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and depression.
- Malignant or benign tumors anywhere in the urinary tract or of surrounding structures may result in urinary frequency.
- Bladder cancer and prostate cancer (men) is the more common causes of urinary frequency due to a tumor.
- Diabetes insipidus
- Low levels of ADH (antidiuretic hormone/vasporession) impairs the kidneys ability to retain fluids.
- Other symptoms include excessive thirst, skin dryness and weight loss.
- Diabetes mellitus
- Low levels of insulin or insulin resistance resulting in elevated blood glucose levels.
- Other symptoms include excessive thirst, weight loss and complications of diabetes like blurred vision, numbness, tingling or pain of the limbs and poor wound healing.
- Drugs and Medical Treatments
- Radiation cystitis is a result of exposure to radiation (therapeutic) for cancer treatment.
- Interstitial cystitis
- A broad term for inflammation of the bladder or urinary frequency associated with a number of conditions but the exact cause is unknown.
- Apart from urinary frequency and urging, pain (pelvic pain and painful urination) is a feature of interstitial cystitis.
- Chronic kidney diseases
- Impaired or total loss of kidney function due to a number of renal or systemic diseases.
- Other symptoms include swelling of the legs, abdomen or entire body, puffiness around the eyes, shortness of breath (fluid in the lungs), high blood pressure and fatigue.
- Overactive Bladder Syndrome
- Repeated and uncontrolled bladder contractions due to unknown causes.
- Other symptoms may include incontinence although this is not always present.
- Neurogenic bladder
- This refers to neurological causes of bladder overactivity resulting from lesions or injuries to the brainstem, spinal cord (particularly the sacrum) or peripheral nerves innervating the bladder.
- It may be associated with other neurological conditions like Parksinon’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetic neuropathy, herpes zoster and neurological complications of syphilis.
- Urinary incontinence
- Various causes of urinary incontinence may result in urinary frequency.
- Urethral stricture
- Abnormal narrowing of the urethra which may be due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (men), STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases), injury to the urethra or pelvis, repeated episodes of urethritis.
- Other symptoms include painful urination (dysuria), hematospermia (blood in semen), swelling of the penis (men) and other urine problems, like oliguria, anuria and blood in the urine (hematuria).
- Urinary stones
- Urinary tract infections (UTI’s)
- Bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa affecting the entire urinary tract or only certain parts of it – urethra (urethritis), bladder (cystitis), ureter (ureteritis) or kidne (pyelonephritis).
- Other symptoms include burning or pain upon urination, hematuria, genital itching, discharge, dark or cloudy urine, and fever.
Frequent Urination in Women
- Vaginitis, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) should also be considered as possible causes of urinary frequency and urging.
Frequent Urination in Men