This condition is called Nocturia, also referred to as nighttime urination, which is characterized by frequent urination, usually more than twice at night, thereby impacting the quality of sleep. This, in turn, results in various other problems which interfere with the day-to-day activities like daytime fatigue, fatigue-related accidents or fall-related injuries in the dark. Both, men and women are equally prone to this condition and understanding the exact cause forms the key to effective treatment.
A simple diagnostic tool that can be used is a bladder diary, which helps keep a 24-hour record of the time and volume of the urine. Depending on these results, further tests can be taken which will help deduce the exact cause of nocturia. Small volume nocturia corresponds to urological disorders and large volume corresponds to non-urological disorders.
The three most important causes of nocturia are excessive urine production, sleep issues (both non-urological disorders) and urological disorders.
Excessive Urine Production - This results due to :
- Overconsumption of fluids (like alcohol, beverages) especially during the late evening
- Deterioration in kidney function due to age
- Certain medications
- An imbalance in hormones which regulate urination during sleep
- Edema (fluid accumulation in legs).
Sleep issues - This constitutes insomnia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
- Insomnia forces one to take a lame attempt in the bathroom simply as to do something
- OSA induces overproduction of urine due to obstructed oxygen inflow while breathing, followed by pressure imbalances in the heart.
Urological disorders - This condition is due to
- Decreased bladder capacity
- Prostate enlargement in men
- Issues related to bladder nerves, infection, stones, and cancer.
Though exasperating, this condition can be treated and symptoms disappear completely. The treatment can either be medications or lifestyle changes, depending on the exact cause.
If the condition is due to urological disorders, bladder relaxants and synthetic hormones (available in the form of tablets) are prescribed.
If the condition is due to sleep issues or excessive urine production, it is advisable -
- Restricting salt, alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- Consuming less than required amounts of water, starting the late evening
- Taking a trip to the restroom before going to bed are greatly suggested.
- If edema is the cause, use of compression stockings helps reduce the symptoms considerably.
As mentioned earlier, identifying the rudimentary cause is half way through the treatment!