Nocturia is a condition where you feel the need to urinate often in the night. This may be a part of the normal ageing process, an underlying medical condition or simply drinking too much water.
Nocturia may occur due to low bladder capacity, impaired urinary flow or overproduction of urine in a day (polyuria) or only at night (nocturnal polyuria). With age, the bladder loses its elasticity, reducing its capacity to hold urine. Hormones that slow down kidney function at night may not be adequately produced. Circulation problems may result in fluid accumulation in the lower legs (leg oedema), which can be easily pumped into the blood stream when you lie down, from where it is sent to the kidneys to form urine. Other causes of nocturia include kidney stones, overactive bladder, urinary tract infection, enlargement of the prostate gland, sleep disorders, pregnancy, diabetes, constipation, and certain drugs.
When you present to the clinic with symptoms of nocturia, your doctor will question you about the urinary frequency, volume and flow as well as your fluid intake, diet, habits, existing medical conditions and medications. Your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical examination. Blood and urine tests may be ordered.
Treatment of nocturia depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor may prescribe medications that regulate urine production or treat underlying medical conditions. You are advised to limit your fluid intake just before sleeping (particularly coffee and alcohol), and certain medications such as diuretics (which promote urine flow). To avoid fluid accumulation in your legs, compression stockings are recommended. You are encouraged to nap in the afternoon and elevate your legs for some time during the day.