What are the symptoms of frequent urination?
There are a number of different causes that may lead to frequent urination, all with varying symptoms, however, some of the primary symptoms tend to be similar for everyone.
The below information describes some of the symptoms that are typically associated with frequent urination:
- Frequency – Needing to urinate more than the average amount of four to seven times a day and more than once during the night when not drinking more liquids than normal, is considered frequent urination.
- Hesitancy – You may also experience an incomplete emptying of your bladder during urination. This is sometimes caused by episodes of sudden stoppage of the flow of the urine as a result of spasms in your urethra or bladder. When this occurs, it may be difficult to reinitiate urine flow.
- Urgency – This is an uncomfortable feeling associated with pressure on the bladder, making you feel as though you urgently need to urinate.
- Urinary incontinence – This condition refers to having no control over the flow of urine. This can be experienced intermittently or as a direct result of certain activities such as sneezing, jogging, laughing or coughing or may be constant, resulting in ongoing urine leakage.
- Dysuria – This symptom occurs when you experience a burning or painful sensation during urination or immediately thereafter and is often a sign of a UTI (urinary tract infection).
- Haematuria/Hematuria – This disorder refers to the presence of red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes in the urine. This condition is caused by the kidneys or another part of the urinary tract allowing blood cells to leak into urine, this leakage is often the result of an infection such as a UTI, trauma to the kidneys or urinary tract or even vigorous exercise4. When this condition occurs as a result of vigorous exercise it is known as sports or exercise haematuria, and some even refer to it as ‘runner’s bladder’.
- Nocturia (nocturnal polyuria) – If you have to wake up more than once during the night to urinate (over a duration of six to eight hours), you may have what is known as nocturia. When you sleep your body produces concentrated urine in smaller volumes than at other times of the day so as to prevent urination during the night, thus if you are a healthy individual who generally consumes an average amount of fluid, you may only wake up once during the night to urinate (or not at all). Nocturia can be caused by a variety of lifestyle choices (drinking alcohol, caffeine or excessive fluid consumption), medications (diuretics and those prescribed for high blood pressure), health conditions like anxiety, diabetes, bladder issues, kidney infection, neurological disorders and even pregnancy.
- Pollakiuria (benign idiopathic urinary frequency) – This condition is commonly seen in children and refers to frequent daytime urination. Children older than three years old will typically urinate about 12 times a day, as they age and their bladders mature, they will generally need to urinate less frequently. However, with this disorder, a child may need to urinate more than 40 times a day.
- Overflow incontinence (dribbling urine) – This refers to urine continuing to dribble or drip out after urination has taken place as a result of the bladder not emptying completely.
- Straining – If you are currently suffering from an infection that results in frequent urination such as a UTI, then you may have to bear down or squeeze in order to initiate your urine stream.
When to see a doctor for frequent urination
If you are urinating more than normal (i.e. you need to urinate more than eight times a day), then you should make an appointment with your doctor for a check-up. It may be vital to see your doctor if:
- You cannot think of any apparent cause of frequent urination such as an increase in your fluid, caffeine or alcohol intake. However, if you have also suddenly developed an excessive thirst with no explanation as to why (i.e. it’s not hotter and you haven’t engaged in more physical activity than usual etc.) and are experiencing frequent urination as a result, you should still see your doctor in order to check for diabetes.
- The issue is disrupting your sleep and daily activities.
- You are suffering from additional urinary conditions or symptoms that seem worrisome to you.
It is advised that you see your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing frequent urination in addition to any of the below symptoms and signs:
- Dark brown or red urine / Blood in your urine
- Pain in the groin, side or lower abdomen
- Pain during urination
- Issues with bladder control and holding in urine
- Inexplicable urge to urinate
Urinary tract conditions and infections can result in the above-mentioned symptoms and signs, however, there are several other conditions that may cause these. As a result, it is advised that you seek medical attention in order to determine the cause of the frequent urination you are experiencing and to receive the appropriate treatment.
4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2016. Hematuria (Blood in the Urine). Available: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/hematuria-blood-urine [Accessed 20.10.2017]