Hide this
Frequent Urination

Story at-a-glance +

  • Urinary symptoms like urinary urgency, stress incontinence, nighttime voiding, dribbling, and leaking are very common and should not be a cause of embarrassment
  • New research found urinary urgency was the most common troubling urinary symptom overall but, individually, urgency incontinence was rated as the most embarrassing problem
  • Stress incontinence (leaking urine while laughing, coughing, sneezing, etc.) is often caused by physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause
  • Urge incontinence (leaking urine after feeling a sudden urge to urinate) may be caused by abnormal nerve signals that cause bladder spasms and may be associated with certain medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes and hyperthyroidism
  • Natural treatments, such as bladder training and Kegel exercises, are often very effective at remedying troublesome urinary symptoms
 

When You Always Gotta Go

March 08, 2014 | 84,303 views
Share This Article Share

By Dr. Mercola

Millions of people experience problems with urination, ranging from incontinence and urgency to nighttime urination. The severity of these symptoms can be mild or debilitating, causing embarrassment or anxiety that keeps people from socializing and enjoying their lives.

Yet, no study has ever determined which lower urinary tract symptom (LUTS) is the most bothersome. Many researchers have simply cited their own area of interest as the most troublesome, shedding little light on which urinary symptoms are in need of the most attention.

Researchers from Finland have changed that, however, with a study that gets to the bottom of bladder symptoms among men and women of all ages.

The Most Troubling Urinary Symptoms? Urinary Urgency and Urgency Incontinence

A survey of 6,000 people in Finland revealed urinary symptoms were common across the board.1 This included:

  • The feeling of having to go now, or urinary urgency, in nearly 8%
  • Stress incontinence (leaking urine with coughing or exercise) in nearly 7%
  • Nighttime voiding (nocturia) in 6%
  • Dribbling after urination (post-micturition dribble) in nearly 6%
  • Leaking urine before reaching a toilet (urgency incontinence) in 5%

Urination problems tended to differ among men and women, with women experiencing more issues with incontinence and men struggling more often with slow urination or dribbling. Overall, they found urinary urgency was the most common troubling symptom but, individually, urgency incontinence was rated as the most embarrassing problem.

The study's lead researcher, Kari Tikkinen, MD, PhD, explained that some of the most overlooked urinary symptoms are actually those that deserve the most attention:2

"In women, stress incontinence is the condition whose investigation and treatment we should particularly focus on. The symptom occurs in approximately one in eight of all women at a level of severity that causes substantial bother…

In both genders, rushing to the toilet and waking at night-time to urinate were listed as fairly common and troublesome problems – approximately one in twelve people stated they had substantial trouble with rushing to the toilet, and one in seventeen said they had trouble with getting up at night-time to urinate…

According to this study, however, the most common cause of bother among men is post-micturition dribble, which has been usually ignored."

A Closer Look at Some of the Most Common Urinary Symptoms

You've probably heard of the term "overactive bladder," which refers to symptoms such as urinary frequency, urinary urgency, and having urge incontinence, or accidents. It has become a buzzword in recent years as pharmaceutical companies began promoting medications to treat this recently coined condition, urging (primarily) women to seek "help."

Not only are many cases of "overactive bladder" mild – i.e. not requiring treatment – but the term itself may be problematic, according to Tikkinen, who noted:3

"It implies that the cause of the symptoms lies in the bladder, even though this is often not the case."

Certain drugs for overactive bladder (anticholinergics) work by relaxing your bladder muscle to reduce urinary urgency, frequency, and accidents. These drugs may cause side effects like blurred vision, constipation, faster heartbeat, drowsiness, confusion, and memory loss while doing nothing to treat the underlying cause of your urinary troubles. Common causes of urinary symptoms include:4

  • Stress Incontinence (leaking urine while laughing, coughing, sneezing, etc.): This is often caused by physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.
  • Urge Incontinence (leaking urine after feeling a sudden urge to urinate): This may be caused by abnormal nerve signals that cause bladder spasms and may be associated with certain medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes and hyperthyroidism. Other health conditions may also impact your bladder nerves and muscles, leading to urge incontinence. This includes multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and injury.
  • Overactive Bladder: This may be caused by abnormal nerves sending signals to your bladder at the wrong time, causing it to contract and leading to frequent urination, urgency, incontinence, and nighttime urination.
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Men: These may include urinary hesitancy, weak stream, dribbling or leaking, along with more frequent urination (especially at night). These symptoms may be caused by an enlarged prostate that affects the flow of urine.

How Often Is 'Frequent' Urination?

You may be wondering just what constitutes an actual urination "problem." For starters, if the frequency of your urination is bothersome (i.e. it wakes you up at night or interferes with your ability to carry out your regular activities), you should seek help. The same holds true for feelings of urgency or incontinence that is interfering with your daily life.

Please do not feel embarrassed, as these problems are incredibly common and can often be treated (using non-drug methods), leading to significant improvements in your quality of life.

That said, urinating six to eight times per day is "average." You might go more or less often than that, depending on how much water you drink and how active you are. Increased frequency can be caused by an overactive bladder (involuntary contractions), caffeine, a urinary tract infection (UTI), interstitial cystitis, benign prostate enlargement, diabetes, or certain neurological diseases.

It is important that you urinate when you feel the urge (except if you're undergoing bladder training, as discussed below). Ordinarily, delaying urination can cause bladder overdistension — like overstretching a Slinky such that it can't bounce back. You may habitually postpone urination if you find bathroom breaks inconvenient at work, or if you have Paruresis (also known as Shy Bladder Syndrome, Bashful Bladder, Tinkle Terror, or Pee Anxiety), the fear of urinating in the presence of others. Seven percent of the public suffers from this condition.5

6 Natural Methods for Treating Urinary Symptoms

If you're struggling with urinary symptoms that are interfering with your life, the following methods can be very effective:

  1. Do Kegels: More women than men might be familiar with this term. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight. For men who aren't familiar with that term, it's similar to trying to stop urinating in the middle of the flow. This can help to strengthen the muscles that help you hold in and control the flow of urine. Kegels can also help you suppress the need to urinate if you have trouble with frequency.
  2. Keep a Bladder Diary: This will help you become familiar with your bathroom habits so you can identify a pattern. It may help you develop a plan to visit the bathroom at timed intervals to avoid accidents, as well as help you strategically increase time between bathroom trips as you gain control.
  3. Bladder Training: The bladder diary is often one step of bladder training, which involves visiting the restroom according to a fixed schedule. When you feel the need to urinate before a scheduled visit, practice Kegels or relaxation exercises like deep breathing to suppress the urge.
  4. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment or Chiropractic Adjustments:  Research has shown that osteopathic manipulative treatment provided virtually the same therapeutic effect as pelvic floor muscle training (Kegels) in women with lower urinary tract disorders.6
  5. Limiting Fluids at Certain Times of the Day: If you're getting up during the night to urinate, stop drinking three to four hours before bedtime. Coffee, tea, and alcohol should also be restricted.
  6. Enlarged Prostate: Men, if you believe an enlarged prostate is causing your urinary symptoms, read these tips for maintaining a healthy prostate.

If you only experience occasional incontinence, wearing a thin absorbent pad may help give you confidence and allow you to go about with your daily schedule without fears of embarrassment. But, ideally, try the safe options above so that you can fully recover. Remember, this is a very common problem that can often be effectively treated, naturally. As the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) put it: 7

"…many women are afraid to mention their problem. They may have urinary incontinence that can improve with treatment but remain silent sufferers and resort to wearing absorbent undergarments, or diapers. This practice is unfortunate, because diapering can lead to diminished self-esteem, as well as skin irritation and sores. If you are relying on diapers to manage your incontinence, you and your family should discuss with your doctor the possible effectiveness of treatments such as timed voiding and pelvic muscle exercises."

Effortless Healing – My New York Times Best Selling Book – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I've organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn't a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

BONUS #1:

A sneak peek of my new book! You won’t need to wait for the book to arrive to get started. Begin reading my new book right away with your free sneak preview!

BONUS #2:

My most popular video interviews, all in one place. I’ve compiled 18 of my BEST expert interviews for you to watch and listen to at your leisure, and in the comfort of your own home or office.

BONUS #3:

Receive 15% off your next Mercola.com order. Depending on your order, your savings from this one bonus alone could more than cover the cost of your book!

All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

That's right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you'll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you'll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children's health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride's environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico