Nocturia is the need to get up frequently to urinate during the night, it is a common cause of sleep loss especially among older adults. It affects nearly two thirds of adults ages 55 – 84, at least a few nights per week. A mild case causes a person to wake up, at least twice during the night. In severe cases, a person may get up like five or six times. Not surprisingly, this can lead to significant sleep deprivation and daytime fatigue.
Nocturia becomes more common with age. As we get older, our bodies produce less antidiuretic hormone that enables us to retain fluid. With lower concentrations of this hormone, we produce more urine at night. The bladder tends to lose, holding capacity as we age, older people are suffer more from medical problems that affects the bladder.
Nocturia has numerous possible causes including disorders like heart failure and diabetes, other medical conditions (urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate, liver failure, multiple sclerosis, sleep apnea) and medications especially diuretics. Therapies for nocturia, fall into three categories, which are:
- Treatments to correct medical causes
- Behavioral interventions
The first step is to try identify the cause and correct it. If this is unsuccessful, try behavioral approaches, such as cutting down on how much you drink, two hours before bedtime, especially caffeine and alcohol. The most commonly used is desmopressin (DDAVP, Stimulate), which mimics some of the action of the antidiuretic hormone. If the problems stems from increased contractions of bladder, relaxant agents such as tolterodine (Detrol) and oxybutynin (Ditropan) can be effective.
The most common cause for nocturia is a urinary tract infection (UTI). This causes frequent burning and urgent urination, throughout the day and night. The infection usually requires antibiotics to effectively treat it. Another common cause of nocturia is excessive drinking, especially drinks containing alcohol and caffeine. Consuming these substances in excess can lead to waking up to urinate.
Nocturia can be an early symptom of pregnancy which develops at an early stage, but is more common later, especially when the womb presses the bladder. Some medications may cause nocturia as a side effect. This is particularly true of diuretics, which are prescribed to treat high blood pressure. You should seek emergency medical care, from a doctor if you lose the ability to urinate, or if you can no longer control urination.Diagnosing the cause of nocturia can be difficult.
Nocturia can be a more serious condition, such as diabetes or a UTI that could worsen or spread, if left untreated. It can also lead to sleep deprivation, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness and depression. Nocturia due to an underlying condition will usually stop when the condition is successfully treated. It also disturbs the sleep cycle. If can prevented by reducing the amount you drink before going to bed, avoiding drinks containing alcohol and caffeine and urinating before bed.