It’s more serious than you think.
Despite what you may believe, it’s actually incredibly common to have to use the bathroom on one or more occasion throughout the night.
The condition, known as nocturia, affects one in three adults over the age of 30 and is defined as the urgent need to urinate during the night, thereby interrupting sleep.
However, even though the ailment affects a large portion of the population, new research shows it’s not ideal for your long-term health, and should be treated accordingly.
So, what is nocturia?
Nocturia is the sensation of a full bladder during the night that causes sleep disturbance and the urgent need to urinate.
While you may be coping with nocturia and feel it is just a minor inconvenience, studies show it actually has an enormous effect on your health and quality of life. Data published by several researchers, including those at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, notes the unpleasant sensation contributes to irregular sleep patterns and insomnia, both of which cause poor physical function, decreased cognitive function and a higher mortality rate.
What causes it?
Nocturia is most commonly caused by the overproduction of urine at night or during the day. Internal medicine physician Dr Eric Serrano explains the uncomfortable sensation can be brought on by excessive consumption of fluids, certain medications, alcohol and caffeine.
“Drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and afterward, as well as alcohol intake prior to bedtime, is typically discouraged because it can interfere with your sleep. Caffeine may trigger an overactive bladder, which can lead to the need to urinate frequently during the day and night.”
In addition, according to the National Association For Continence (NAFC), in women, the symptoms can be prompted due to a pelvic organ prolapse after childbirth and during menopause.
Unfortunately, while nocturia can occur due to these simple factors, the NAFC also notes that it could also be a symptom of dangerous health problems such as high blood pressure, congestive heart disease, vascular disease and insomnia, to name a few.
Additionally, unnecessarily relieving yourself during the night can condition your body to include the action as part of your daily routine. Allowing this to continually disturb a night’s sleep can bring the problem to the fore.
What are the signs and symptoms?
If you are finding yourself taking one or more necessary trips to the bathroom that wake you during the night, you may be experiencing nocturia.
Although the majority of people who experience these issues are on the plus side of 60, according to The Journal of Urology, a surprising number of young women also suffer from the condition. Up to 44 per cent of women in their twenties and thirties get up at least once a night, and up to 18 per cent of women in the same age group rise at least twice, so there could be a good chance your nightly bathroom visits are more serious than you initially thought.
How can you treat it?
Since nocturia gets worse with age, it’s best to start treatment for the condition as soon as possible. Fortunately there are several life changes you can experiment with to alleviate the symptoms of, and even cure, nocturia.
According to the NAFC, the easiest way to reduce discomfort is to monitor fluid intake and adjust it accordingly. Often, simply reducing the amount you drink in the late afternoon and evening will lower the quantity of urine produced and allow for an undisturbed night’s sleep. You can also reduce the quantity of urine by taking afternoon naps to help the bloodstream absorb any excess liquid.
Alternatively, the NAFC recommends elevating your legs or wearing compression tights during your sleep to help redistribute the liquid into the bloodstream. If this doesn’t alleviate your symptoms, it’s best to speak to your doctor about medical options for treating nocturia.
Images via giphy.com, imgur.com and tumblr.com.
Comment: What health issues are troubling you at the moment?