Clue #2: Increased Urination Frequency
People generally need to take a bathroom break about 6 to 7 times a day, but even between 4 and 10 times a day may be fine depending on your habits. Your age, bladder size, medical conditions, caffeine intake, and medication use can all influence your urination frequency. But if you’re pee-schedule changes significantly with no obvious reason, it could be a sign of:
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
These are zero fun. A UTI will cause a frequent urge to urinate accompanied by a burning sensation. Though you may feel you need to pee all the time, you may only pass small amounts of urine that can be cloudy, red, brown, and/or strong-smelling. It might also come with back pain—oh joy. UTIs are unfortunately fairly common, especially in women, and can be treated with antibiotics.
Not only does an overactive bladder cause a need to urinate frequency, you may also deal with incontinence, sudden urges, and the need for several nighttime bathroom trips. These symptoms are common as people age, but treatments are available. Overactive bladder can cause stress, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and intimacy challenges. Kegel exercises, disease management, exercise, and limiting caffeine intake can help control symptoms. But you should also talk to your doctor—it’s nothing he or she hasn’t heard about before!
Interstitial cystitis (Painful bladder syndrome)
This condition causes bladder pressure and pain and sometimes pelvic pain ranging from mild to severe. It’s caused when the signals between the bladder and the brain become mixed up and the brain signals the pelvic nerves to contract too often for only small amounts of urine. The condition mostly affects women, and the symptoms are similar to those of a UTI. Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition, but there are therapies available to help relieve symptoms.
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High blood sugar caused by diabetes can cause frequent urination. As your kidneys attempt to flush excess sugar from your blood, they produce increased amounts of urine. This is why diabetes mellitus means “sweet urine disease.” If you have diabetes and notice a strong uptick in urination be sure to check your blood sugar. If not treated, high blood sugar can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a condition that can lead to diabetic coma and even death.
DKA can be accompanied by confusion, fruity-smelling breath, fatigue, extreme thirst, abdominal pain or vomiting, and low blood pressure. If you have diagnosed diabetes and have these symptoms you should check for ketones in your urine, and if you are undiagnosed and experience any of these symptoms you should see your doctor right away.
Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels)
An overactive parathyroid gland can cause you to have an above-normal blood calcium level, or hypercalcemia. Mild cases may not have symptoms, while more severe cases can be accompanied by excessive thirst and urination, stomach upset, constipation, muscle weakness, confusion, and fatigue. Because of these symptoms, someone with hypercalcemia may also experience depression.
Pelvic Floor Weakness
When pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may experience frequent urination or incontinence. The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and the urethra, but when those muscles weaken the urethra is more relaxed and may release urine in response to sneezing, bending, laughing, or other forces. It’s often caused by childbirth in women and prostate surgery in men. If these symptoms start to interfere with your normal activities, you should talk to your doctor.
Englarged Prostate Gland
An enlarged prostate gland in men may block the flow of urine and cause difficulty urinating despite the frequent urge to do so. The condition may cause incomplete emptying, the need to urinate frequently at night, the inability to urinate or difficulty starting, or blood in the urine. The condition is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and complications include bladder damage, bladder stones, and kidney damage.
Some medications can cause frequent urination by moving fluid from the body to the kidneys. Check your medications for possible diuretic side effects.