AARP Eye Center
Do you find yourself running to the bathroom all day long? Or waking up several times at night to pee? If you go more than eight times a day and more than once at night, you probably have what doctors call frequent urination.
It’s a common condition among older adults, although it can affect people of all ages.
Many people who have frequent urination also have overactive bladder, a condition in which you get an overwhelming urge to go that comes on suddenly and is difficult to control. Urine may leak out if you don’t get to the bathroom fast enough. As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women experience it at least sometimes, according to the Urology Care Foundation.
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In and of itself, frequent urination isn’t harmful. But it can be embarrassing and annoying, especially if that gotta-go feeling is keeping you from doing activities you enjoy such as taking long trips or hiking.
And if you wake up a lot to pee during the night, disturbed sleep has been linked to health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
Not a normal part of aging
Many older adults assume that peeing all the time is a normal part of aging, but that’s not the case, says Elizabeth Braxton, a urogynecologist with Novant Health Pelvic Health Center in Greensboro, N.C.
“It’s definitely more common as you age, but it’s not normal,” she says. If you feel like you are urinating too frequently — or if you’re always thinking about where the next bathroom is — you should talk to your doctor about potential causes, Braxton says.
Frequent urination can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diabetes, a urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis or an enlarged prostate. It can also be a side effect of some medications, particularly diuretics. Sometimes simply changing how and when you take your medications can make a big difference, Braxton says.
Even if there is no underlying condition causing your pee problem, that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Taking the following steps can help reduce your need to pee all the time.
1. Drink water wisely
If you drink a lot during the day, cutting back can significantly reduce urination frequency. Many people guzzle the oft-recommended eight glasses of water a day, but there’s no science behind that number, says Karyn Eilber, a board-certified urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.