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Frequent Urination: Overview, Diagnosis & Treatment

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Chances are bright that you might know someone who has to run to the bathroom at every opportunity. In winter, several people may also have to make a trip to the loo over and over again. Every pregnant woman can also relate all too well to the feeling of having to pee all day long (and sometimes at night too)!

Frequent Urination (FRU) is a common symptom faced by people of all age groups, but more so in adults. It is essentially voiding urine more times than normal, resulting in disturbance to your daily activities.

FRU can occur during the day or the night. When it occurs at night, it is referred to as nocturia, and this can cause disturbance in sleep. Usually, people can sleep for 6-8 hours undisturbed without feeling the urge to pass urine, but when they have nocturia they wake up multiple times at night. In general, this issue disrupts your daily activities and can inconvenience your routine.




What are the symptoms associated with Frequent Urination?

Frequent Urination can be an isolated symptom or can be associated with other urinary symptoms, such as the following. 

  • Difficulty in controlling urine

  • Increased urgency to pass urine

  • Urinary leakage (incontinence)

  • Thin stream of urine

  • Feeling of incomplete voiding

  • Dribbling of urine

  • Straining to pass/push urine out

  • Burning sensation while passing urine

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Pain in the loins

  • Change in the colour of urine (greenish tinge if there is pus, reddish-pink in case of bleeding)

These additional symptoms are indicative of the underlying cause, and help understand where the underlying issue may be focused. 

What are the causes of Frequent Urination?

There are many causes that can result in FRU. Some of these can be a physiological or normal reaction to a change in the environment or food & water intake, while some are a consequence of diseases affecting the urinary system. There are also certain systemic conditions that can cause Frequent Urination. 

The urinary system includes the kidney, the ureters (tube-like structures that carry urine from the kidneys), the urinary bladder (that acts as a temporary reservoir for urine), and the urethra (the passage through which urine is voided). In addition, in men, there are certain other reproductive organs present along the urinary pathway of which the organ called the prostate can have issues that can contribute to these symptoms.

Physiological causes for an increased frequency of urination can include the following. 

  • Pregnancy: In pregnancy, the expanding uterus with the developing foetus inside compresses the bladder from behind. This can cause a constant urge to pee. This resolves following delivery.

  • In the winter season, there is less excretion through sweating and hence there is an increase in the frequency of urination.

  • Drinking certain beverages: Caffeine and alcoholic beverages (especially beer) have properties that make you urinate more.

  • Post-delivery in women due to loosening of the pelvic floor muscles.

FRU is associated with many different problems & diseases affecting the organs of the excretory & reproductive systems. Some of these causes include the following. 

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Vaginal infections (vaginitis) in females

  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland which is seen in males)

  • Cystitis (bladder infection)

  • Pyelonephritis (infection of the kidneys)

  • Prostate enlargement: This condition, also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a commonly occurring issue, especially in older aged men where the prostate gland becomes enlarged and obstructs the urinary pathway. 

  • Stones in the urinary bladder

  • Vaginal prolapse 

  • Disorders resulting in kidney dysfunction

  • Any growth or tumours in the urinary tract

Some systemic conditions can also cause Frequent Urination.

  • Diabetes mellitus: Polyuria or urinating more frequently is a classical symptom of diabetes. Diabetics are also more prone to developing urinary tract infections which also cause Frequent Urination. 

  • As a side effect of a group of medications called diuretics which are used to treat hypertension, cardiac issues, etc. 

  • Stroke & other disorders affecting the nerves controlling the urinary system resulting in dysfunction.

  • Following radiation treatment for cancers affecting the pelvis region.

  • Anxiety disorders.

It is important to note that there may be even more causes for Frequent Urination. It is best to let the doctor check to ensure there is no serious medical condition.

How is Frequent Urination diagnosed?

Typically, people pass urine about four to eight times a day. This number can vary depending on factors such as diet, level of activity, etc.

However, if you find yourself having to pass urine more often, something may be wrong. Sometimes, the urge is so strong that the person is unable to control it and may void suddenly or unconsciously. 

Hence, FRU is a symptom that should prompt you to visit your doctor. Evaluating and diagnosing the underlying cause is important. 

The associated symptoms you may have alongside Frequent Urination are indicative of specific causes. Here’s a list.  

  • A urinary tract infection presents with Frequent Urination, burning sensation when passing urine, dribbling of urine, and may be associated with lower abdominal pain and fever. 

  • Diabetics may have an increase in thirst and hunger alongside increased urine frequency, an increased incidence of infections, and slow wound healing. 

  • Stress incontinence is common in women and may lead to leaking of urine after coughing, laughing, or exercising.

  • Enlarged prostate size in males may be associated with a poor stream of urine and difficulty in initiating urination.

  • Your doctor will ask for a detailed history to isolate if there is a particular focus of disease causing your symptoms. Males may also be advised a per-rectal examination. 

Blood investigations

Some routine tests like a urine examination, urine culture, blood sugar and blood cell counts may be needed. 

Radiological investigations

The most commonly ordered radiological investigation for this issue is an ultrasound scan of your kidney and pelvic structures. A parameter called post-void urine volume which is an indication of how much urine is left in your bladder after you pass urine is particularly helpful. 

Other tests include CT scans, MRI, or a procedure called cystoscopy where your urinary passage is visualised by passing a scope through the urine passage. These are done for more advanced issues and are usually coupled with surgical treatments for those causes. 

What is the treatment for Frequent Urination?

The treatment for Frequent Urination is to treat the cause. Hence it is important to diagnose the underlying cause as it can determine the quality of treatment you are receiving. 

If you suffer from FRU, here are some things you can follow at home.

  • Reduce your daily intake of caffeine.

  • Limit alcohol consumption.

  • Avoid drinking fluids close to bedtime to avoid having to wake up multiple times at night.

  • Take any medications advised regularly.

  • Start a daily meditation practice and inculcate regular exercise or yoga for better stress management.

  • Certain foods such as cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and cumin seeds have been linked with reduced chances of developing urinary tract infections. Incorporating them in your daily diet can be helpful.

  • Try Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a list of common questions related to Frequent Urination


How can I avoid complications related to FRU?

It is necessary to consult a doctor for appropriate management of FRU. Starting treatment early is also necessary to prevent complications.

How to perform Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises involve tightening the pelvic muscles for 3 to 5 seconds at a time and can be done multiple times throughout the day. In case you’re confused which muscles to tighten, consider stopping the flow of urine while peeing. Focus on tightening only those specific muscles.

Is PSA advised in case of FRU?

PSA (prostate specific antigen) is advised in men with suspicions of an enlarged prostate.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions. Frequent Urination is written as FRU in this article on a few occasions.


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