Nocturia - Bladder Weakness/Incontinence at Night
The urge to urinate at nighttime isn't uncommon. Pregnancy, age, or drinking before bedtime can increase the need to go to the washroom. However, for some people, the urge to urinate may also lead to leakage at night. Nocturia, or the frequent urge to urinate at night, can happen for many reasons, but what can you do to help reduce it? Small changes like changing your daily routine to improve your sleep and changing when you stop drinking at night can improve the frequent nighttime wake-ups.
What causes a weak bladder at night?
As we get older, our bodies change, and of course, we have to go to the bathroom more often than we used to. It's normal to have to go once or twice at night. While a young person's bladder can hold up to 0.5 litres of urine, as we age, the bladder becomes less elastic, reducing this capacity by about half. Our decreased ability to concentrate urine as we age also increases the urge to urinate. The total amount of urine produced during the day and night does not necessarily change, but more is produced at night. Lifestyle habits, such as drinking lots of fluids, caffeine and alcohol intake, can also lead to nocturia.
Medical Conditions Related to Nocturia
There are both medical conditions and medications that can cause nocturia. Talk to your doctor if you suspect an underlying medical condition or if your medications are causing you to urinate frequently at night. Changing the time you take your medication may be a simple resolution to help reduce side effects.
Some medications or diagnoses associated with nocturia:
- Heart and kidney disease
- Urge incontinence
How can I reduce the number of times I go to the toilet at night?
Reducing toilet trips improves overall health and contributes to a restful night's sleep. What changes can you make to help?
- Avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea and alcohol in the evening.
- Always go to the bathroom before bed.
- Limit fluid intake 2 hours before bedtime
- If you have swollen legs, using compression stockings during the day can help with fluid buildup in your legs, thus reducing your risk of nighttime urination.
- Being up, or waking up in the middle of the night due to a condition such as Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, etc., can trigger the need to go to the bathroom. Resolving these conditions can help minimize nocturia if you suffer from night disturbances.
- If you're experiencing nighttime urinary leaks, use an incontinence pad to help you feel protected at night.