When you frequently need to visit the toilet then you have a problem called frequent urination. In most people the bladder is able to store urine until it is convenient to go to the toilet, typically four to eight times a day. Needing to go more than eight times a day or waking up frequently to pee means there is a problem. It could mean you are drinking too much and too close to bedtime. It can however be a health problem.
According to Dr Bunmi Ilori, a urologist, frequent urination can be a symptom of many different problems. When frequent urination is accompanied by fever, an urgent need to urinate, pain or discomfort in the abdomen you may have a urinary tract infection, other possible causes of frequent urination include:
Diabetes: urinating frequently with an abnormally large amount of urine is often an early symptom of both type1 and type2 diabetes as the body tries to rid itself of unused glucose through urine.
Pregnancy: from the early weeks of pregnancy, this is because the growing uterus places pressure on the bladder, causing frequent urination.
Prostrate problems: an enlarged prostrate can press against the uretha ( the tube that carries urine out of the body) and block the flow of urine. This causes the bladder to begin to contract even when it contains small amounts of urine causing more frequent urination.
Interstitial cystitis: this condition of unknown cause is characterized by pain in the bladder and pelvic region. Often symptoms include an urgent and or frequent need to urinate.
Diuretic use: these medications that are used to treat high blood pressure or fluid build up work in the kidney and flush excess fluid from the body causing frequent urination.
Stroke or other neurological diseases: damage to nerves that supply the bladder can lead to problems with bladder function including frequent and sudden urges to urinate.
Dr. Ikori continued by explaining that less common causes include bladder cancer, bladder dysfunction and radiation therapy. Often, frequent urination is not a symptom of a problem, but is the problem. In people with overactive bladder syndrome, in voluntary bladder contractions lead to frequent and often urgent urination, meaning you have to get to a bathroom as soon as possible even when your bladder is not full.
It may also lead you to wake up once or more during the night to use the bathroom. However if urinary frequency interferes with your lifestyle or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, back or side pain vomiting, chills, increased appetite or thirst, fatigue, bloody or cloudy urine or a discharge from the penis or vagina it is important to see your doctor. To diagnose the cause of frequent urination, your doctor will perform a physical exam and go through your medical history; some of the tests results the doctor may need include:
Urinalysis : this is the microscopic examination of urine that also involves a number of tests to detect and measure various compounds that pass through the urine.
Cystomery: a test that measures the pressure inside of the bladder to see how well the bladder is working. It is done to determine if a muscle or nerve problem with how well the bladder holds or releases urine.
Cystoscopy: A test that allows your doctor to look at the inside of the bladder and uretha using a thin lighted instrument called a cytoscope.
Ultrasonograpy this is a diagnostic imaging test using sound waves to visualize the internal body structure.
Treatment of frequent urination will address the underlying problem that is causing it, for a example if diabetes is the cause , treatment will involve keeping blood sugar levels under control. While the treatment of overactive bladder should begin with behavioural therapies such as,
Bladder retraining: this involves increasing the intervals between using the bathroom over the cause of about 12 weeks. This helps retrain the bladder to hold urine longer and to urinate less frequently.
Diet modification: you should avoid any food that appears to irritate your bladder or acts as a diuretic. These may include caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, tomato- based products, chocolate, artificial sweetners and spicy foods. It is impotant tto eat high fiber foods because constipation may worsen the symptoms of over active bladder symdrome.
Monitoring fluid intake: you should drink enough to prevent constipation and or over concentration of urine, but you should avoid drinking just before bedtime, which can lead to night time urination.
Then finally Dr. Bunmi advices that someone suffering from frequent urination should practice the kegel exercise because it helps strengthen the muscles around the bladder and uretha to improve bladder control and reduce urinary urgency and frequency. Exercising pelvic muscles for five muscles for five minutes three time a day can make a difference in bladder control.
Foods to avoid if you suffer from frequent urination
TOMATOES are acidic food that can potentially irritate the bladder and worsen urinary frequency symptoms
COFFEE AND TEA The culprit in is caffeine. It can increase bladder activity
CHOCOLATE like coffee and tea also contains some caffeine. Instead try the white chocolate which usually has no caffeine
ORANGES, LIMES AND LEMONS like tomatoes, oranges, lime, lemon and grapefruit contain high amounts of citric acid, which can worsen the bladder. Fruits should be part of a healthy appetite so try less acidic fruits like apples and bananas.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES Alcohol can irritate the bladder and affect the signals to the brain that make you aware of bladder overflow.
CARBONATED BEVERAGES: The ‘fizz’ in carbonated beverages such as soft drinks, soda water and energy drinks can cause frequent urination even champagne.
SPICY FOODS that makes your eyes water and burn your tongue can irritate your bladder
SWEETNERS both artificial and natural sweeteners can cause increase bladder symptoms, honey inclusive.
PROCESSED FOODS contain a lot of artificial flavoring and preservatives that can irritate the bladder.
CRANBERRIES are acidic more like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
ONIONS like spicy foods can cause bladder problems and increase the urge to urinate. Raw onions are the main culprits so cooking them before eating can reduce the adverse effect they may have on the bladder
BALANCED WATER INTAKE : too little water intake fluid will make your urine concentrated and acidic and still cause frequent use of the toilet while too much will certain cause same, however a balanced in take of 8 glasses a day properly spread out will do just fine. Try to limit intake by evening.
Kegel exercises for men
Do you know that men can also do the kegel exercise? Yes they can and the easiest way for a man to learn how to do it is to locate the muscles during urination through trying to stop are slow down the flow of urine during urination. When doing this don’t tense the muscles in your buttocks, legs or abdomen and don’t hold your breath when you can slow and stop the urine without tensing up the above mentioned then you have successfully located these muscles.
Some men find these muscles by imagining that they are trying to stop the passage of gas. Squeezing these muscles give a pulling sensation, these are the right muscles for pelvic exercises. It is important not to contract other muscles. To do the kegel exercises for men contract these muscles for a slow count of five, release the muscles to a slow count of five. Repeat ten times.
Do a set of 10 kegels daily, three times a day when you are first starting it may be easier to do kegel exercises lying down so your muscles aren’t fighting against gravity. It may also be easier to control the muscles for just two or three seconds at first.
After a few weeks, increase the time until eventually you are contracting the muscles for a slow five or ten seconds and do the exercise standing up. That puts more weight on the muscles boosting your workout and improving your control. Remember not to tense your buttocks, legs or stomach muscles while you are doing kegels. If you do kegels three time a day you should see better bladder control in three to six weeks if you don’t see any changes in a month , you may not have located the right muscles for kegel exercises.
Tips to help make kegel exercise a habit
1 stay consistent, do your kegel exercise at the same time each day. Maybe first thing in the morning while you are urinating or while brushing your teeth
2 remember the benefits. If you keep up with kegels, they can really make a difference in your urinary incontinence.
3 pay attention to progress. Overtime you will notice your urinary incontinence is improving as in going to the loo lesser or urinating less quantity of urine at a time.