Urinary frequency or frequent urination is a condition in which the patient passes urine more than normal. This condition not only interferes with normal lifestyle but in extreme cases may even cause social awkwardness. Although generally not a life threatening condition, it nevertheless requires treatment.
The causes of frequent urination can be-
- Overactive Bladder Syndrome- It is one of the most common causes of the condition. It is generally differentiated from polyuria (large amount of urine passage) and polydipsia( increase in thirst) by the quantity of urine, which is small in this condition.
- Polyuria- It is the condition in which the body produces large amounts of urine, frequent urination is mostly observed with polyuria.
- Prostatitis- It is the inflammation of the prostate in men. The enlargement of the prostate gland can pose an obstruction in the flow of urine hence causing irritation of the walls of the bladder which results in contraction of bladder. This contraction reduces the capacity of bladder hence increasing the need to urinate.
- Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS)- It is also known as Interstitial Cystitis. In this condition, severe inflammation of the bladder occurs. It also causes nocturia. Symptoms might occur along Urinary Tract Infection, Overactive Bladder Syndrome, urethritis. The inflammation results in a decreased capacity of the bladder to contain urine. BPS can also cause pain in pelvic region or bladder pain.
- Detrusor inability- In this case the bladder contracts involuntarily, causing the patient to feel the urge to urinate.
- Diabetes- Diabetes of both types can cause frequent urination because the body expels the surplus glucose through urination.
- Pregnancy- The growing size of the uterus increases the pressure on the bladder, therefore the need to urinate at shorter intervals.
- Special medication, for example diuretics.
- Urinary incontinence- It is often accompanied by frequent urination.
The less common causes of urinary frequency are as follows:-
- Bladder cancer
- Radiation treatment
- Bladder dysfunction
The most common symptom in this condition is the frequent and urgent need to urinate. It is considered normal to urinate about 4 -8 times in a day, although the exact frequency depends on a number of factors like amount of fluid intake, medication etc .If a person feels the need to urinate more than this, it might be a symptom of frequent urination. The condition in which the patient feels the need to urinate multiple times in a night, making it difficult for him/her to sleep is called nocturia. Generally, the symptoms of urinary tract infection, polyuria and urinary incontinence occur alongside the symptoms of this condition.
The diagnosis for this condition might include a physical examination of the patient and an observation of the medical history. The other causes for urinary frequency are eliminated like the possibility of some kind infection or any other abnormality, because often urinary frequency might also occur in the case of hematuria and Overactive Bladder Syndrome but in the case of OAB, there is no blood in the urine.
The following tests may be conducted to find out the cause of frequent urination:-
- Blood test
- Urinalysis- An analysis of a sample of urine may be conducted to detect the possibility of an infection.
- Cystoscope- A thin instrument known as a cystoscope is used to check the condition of the urethra and bladder.
- Neurological test- To check for the possibility of neurological disorder, a test may be conducted.
- Ultrasonography- This test can be carried out to check the condition of bladder and other organs.
- Change in eating habits-The problem of frequent urination can be treated by making some changes in eating habits. Making a careful observation and eliminating the foods that may be causing bladder irritation can help in the condition. Sometimes an irritated bladder can happen because of caffeine, aerated drinks etc. It is important to eat foods with high fibre content as constipation is also believed to contribute to OAB.
It is important to drink fluids in plenty, but just in enough quantity to avoid concentration of urine and constipation. It is considered a good practice to drink 2-3 litres of water in a day.
Reducing the intake of fluid might make the condition even worse because less fluid would lead to urine concentration which further aggravates the problem.
- Bladder training- It might include practicing the control over pelvic muscles to resist the urge to urinate. Kegel exercises may also help.
- Oral medication- Medicines like darifenacin, oxybutnin, tolterodine, hydroxyzine might be prescribed.
- Surgery- It is considered to be last resort and often avoided unless every other method of treatment has been tried. Surgery may involve bladder enlargement.
The condition may not pose a threat to life, but may hamper the lifestyle. Because of this condition the patient might become a social recluse and may find it difficult to carry out day to day activities. Hence it is imperative to consult a doctor as soon as the symptoms are detected.