WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on October 23, 2017
Does your bladder nag you out of bed overnight? If you have to go to the bathroom more than once during 6-8 hours of zzz’s, you might have nocturia.
Your body may make too much urine, or your bladder can’t hold enough. Sometimes it’s both.
There are many possible causes. Some need medical treatment, others you can manage on your own.
Could It Be What I’m Drinking?
You may just be drinking too much or too close to bedtime. Drink less several hours before you go to sleep. Don’t have alcohol or caffeine late in the day. And be sure to use the bathroom before you go to bed.
Could It Be an Infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) triggers a need to pee more during the day and at night. It may hurt when you pee, your stomach may ache, and you might have a fever. Your doctor can diagnose and treat a UTI.
Could My Age Make a Difference?
The older you are, the more likely you are to need to pee at night.
As you age, your body produces less of a hormone that helps concentrate urine so that you can hold it until the morning.
When you’re older you’re also more likely to have other health problems that make you need to pee overnight. Your gender can play a role, too:
Men: An enlarged prostate is common when you’re an older guy. It usually isn’t serious, but it can keep you from emptying your bladder.
Women: After menopause, you make less estrogen. That can cause changes in the urinary tract that make you have to go more often. If you’ve had children, the muscles in your pelvis may be weaker, too.
Could It Be My Medicine?
Some medicines pull fluid out of your system and make you pee more. Ask your doctor if any of your meds do this. You might solve the problem by taking them earlier in the day, or the doctor may be able to change your medication.
Could It Be a Sleep Problem?
Sometimes it’s not the urge to pee that wakes you — but once you’re up, you need to go. That can happen if you have restless legs syndrome, hot flashes, ongoing (chronic) pain, or depression. There’s also a connection between sleep apnea and having to go at night.
Treating the sleep disorder usually solves the nighttime peeing problem, too.
Could It Have Anything to Do With My Heart?
When your ticker doesn’t pump the way it should, fluid builds up. You’ll notice this especially in your ankles.
When you lie down, your body flushes out the extra fluid. That fills your bladder and wakes you up.
You might help control the swelling by resting with your feet up during the day, or by wearing compression socks.
Could It Be Something Else?
See a doctor if you’ve tried to control the problem but it’s not getting better. Other medical issues can cause your bladder to hold less than it should. These include:
- Bladder tumor
- Prostate tumor
- Overactive bladder
- Interstitial cystitis
Conditions that can cause your body to make too much urine include:
- Diabetes insipidus
- Liver failure
- Neurologic diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
If you have an underlying health issue and you get it treated, that may stop the nighttime peeing problem. But you may need medication to help with that, too.
Do I Need to See a Doctor?
Getting up in the night to pee can give you problems during the day, like lack of concentration or other health problems. When you’re older, nocturia also raises your chances of falling and breaking a hip.
How Do I Prepare for My Visit?
Keep a diary of what you drink, and when and how much you pee.
Your doctor will want to know:
- How you’re sleeping
- Whether you feel tired during the day
- What medications you take
- Any other symptoms you have
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