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Published on April 13, 2015

In the Still of the Night

April 13, 2015

man sitting on the edge of a bedAbout half of all men older than 45 wake up at least once during the night to use the bathroom. Learn how to prevent nightly toilet trips, as well as when to talk with your physician.

Your alarm clock is blinking a red, unforgiving 3:35 a.m., and you have woken up for the fourth time this week to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Your spouse wakes up when you go, and she asks if it’s something you should be worried about—and you honestly don’t know. Is something as simple as waking up to urinate something to talk to your physician about?

Typically a benign, if frustrating, condition, nocturia is defined as waking at least once in the middle of the night to void the bladder. Nocturia becomes more common in adults older than 60, but many men at every age deal with this condition.

In men, nocturia may be caused by an overproduction of urine at night, known as polyuria. Another common, harmless reason for your nightly bathroom visit is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called an enlarged prostate. Drinking too much liquid, caffeine or alcohol before bed and taking diuretic medications can also cause nocturia. Additionally, bladder and urinary tract infections can make you get up to go more often. It’s also possible you have conditioned your body to need a trip to the bathroom at night.

Nocturia can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Vascular disease

Managing Nocturia

The first step to stopping nocturia is limiting fluid intake before bed. Try writing down how much you drink and when. Keep track of the time you typically get up to use the bathroom, and try setting an alarm for 30 minutes before this usual time. Gradually set your alarm back until you have trained your body to use the restroom at a more reasonable hour. Taking afternoon naps, elevating your legs and wearing compression stockings can all help your body more effectively absorb liquid to prevent nocturia.

If you continue to experience nocturia over several days, despite trying to treat the condition, and are bothered by the number of times you urinate during the night, call your physician. He or she can help you determine the underlying cause of your nocturia to provide effective treatment, as well as prescribe medications to control the nocturia itself.

Prescription: More Sleep

A few nights of shortened or interrupted sleep is a part of life—even if it means dealing with irritability, grogginess and difficulty concentrating the next day. However, lack of sleep over a long period of time can diminish your immune system and greatly increase your risk for chronic health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and depression.

To get the most out of your night’s sleep, set a regular schedule for going to bed and waking up—this will help train your body to get sleepy at a certain time. Take diuretic medication in the morning rather than at bedtime, and exercise regularly to relieve stress and make getting to sleep easier. Avoid screens (including televisions, smartphones and computers) close to bedtime.

Is it time to schedule an appointment with a urologist? Call Dr. Haleem with KishHealth System Physician Group!


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