What is Nocturia?

Nocturia is a condition where a person urinates too much at night. Normally, as you sleep your body makes less urine which is less diluted. As normal, many people do not get up many times at night and are able to sleep many hours without urinating. In the event, you awaken many times to urinate at night, you have nocturia5.



This condition disrupts your sleep. The occurrence of this condition may also indicate you have an underlying health condition. Nocturia polyuria is more prevalent in older people and can affect people in all ages1.

Causes of Nocturia

Nocturia is caused by lifestyle changes and other health conditions. The following are some of the causes of this condition:

Health conditions: A number of health conditions cause nocturia polyuria such as:

Urinary tract infections

This is an infection that occurs in the organs of urinary system; ureter, kidney, bladder and urethra. Most of the infections affect your urethra and the bladder. These infections are painful and cause regular burning sensation and increase your urge to urinate during the entire day and night.

Obstructive sleep apnea

This is a serious sleep condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is one type of sleep apnea and it occurs when muscles in your throat relax irregularly and obstruct air passages while you are sleeping. This obstruction lowers oxygen level in your blood and increases accumulation of carbon dioxide. Your brain notices this disrupted breathing and awakens you shortly from sleep so that you open the airways. This occurs shortly and you may not know that you had it. You may wake up with a short breath that rectifies itself faster after deep breaths.7

This pattern can recur about 30 times in an hour through the night. This disrupts your sleep pattern and therefore you are not able to sleep properly. You are more likely to feel sleep during the day and this affects negatively your daily activities.1, 4

Neurological disorders

Conditions that affect your nervous system can also cause nocturia including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Multiple sclerosis occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers. This disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body.


It is a condition characterized by swelling of any part of your body. Edema occurs when a blood vessel in your body starts to leak and release fluids in the surrounding tissues which cause the tissue to swell. Edema can be caused by infections, other diseases such as heart disease and liver diseases and any condition that disrupts the balance of vital substances in your blood.7

Overactive bladder

An overactive bladder causes spontaneous urge to urinate and can lead to nocturia. A person with an overactive bladder can wake make times at night to urinate.2


Frequent urination is a symptom that indicates pregnancy. It occurs when a woman becomes pregnant but may also happen during pregnancy when the enlarging womb rubs against the bladder.


Drugs such as diuretics which are recommended to treat hypertension can cause side effects which are associated with nocturia.


Nocturia can also be caused when you take too much fluid. When you drink beverages such as alcohol and coffee, your body produces more urine more because these drinks are diuretics. Therefore when you drink too much alcohol, you are more likely to wake up many times at the night to urinate.

Other conditions that cause nocturia include:

  • Having a kidney infection.
  • Having an infection
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Tumors of the prostate, pelvic area or bladder.

Noturia causes


Diagnosing nocturia is not easy. Your health professional will diagnose this condition by asking you several questions. You need to prepare yourself; keep a diary to record the fluids you are taking, how regularly you urinate. Submit this information to your health professional who will be able to understand your condition.3

Your health professional can also conduct the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

Blood sugar tests

This test is done to determine the amount of sugar in your blood. Your health professional will take a sample of your blood and analyze it. This test can be ordered if you have diabetes and have an increased urge to urinate. This test can be done when you have eating nothing for 8 hours, or after two hours when you have taken a drink or glucose. Your health professional will discuss the results with you.


This is a test conducted on your urine in order to determine a variety of infections. In this test, your health professional can ask you to collect a sample of your urine from home or do it at your health professional office. When it is done at the hospital, your health professional puts a tube called catheter via the urinary system into the bladder to collect urine. This urine is taken to the laboratory for analysis.

Urological test

Your health professional can also conduct urological tests to examine the organs and parts of your urinary system; kidney, ureter, bladder and urethra. Your health professional can perform a cystoscopy test to examine problems in your bladder, ureter and urethra.

Other tests that can be done include:

  • Blood count test
  • Imaging test to find out problems in the urinary tract
  • Urine culture to find out if there is an infection

Treatment of Nocturia

Managing nocturia successfully involves treating the underling medical condition. The following can be used to treat nocturia:


Your health professional can recommend drugs such as anticholinergic to treat an overactive bladder. Your health professional can also prescribe desmopressin which can cause your kidney to make a smaller amount of urine at night.


You can embrace the following steps to prevent nocturia:

  • Reduce the amount of fluids you take before you go to sleep. This can lower the urge of wanting to urinate.
  • Avoid beverages that have caffeine and alcohol since these drinks make your body to make more urine hence increase your urge to urinate. When you avoid them, you lower the urge of urinating.
  • Avoid foods that are spicy and chocolate, etc because they irritate your bladder which can increase your urge to urinate.
  • Go for pelvic exercise to help you make pelvic muscles stronger and enhance control of your bladder.

Reference List

  2. Overactive bladder.
  6. Obstructive sleep apnea.
  7. Edema.

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