I was in an important meeting at work and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom — despite using it an hour ago. I rushed out of the room and frantically searched for the closest bathroom. The full and uncomfortable feeling in my bladder couldn't wait for the meeting to end!
Let me tell you — if you have regularly experienced the sudden need to urinate, you're not alone. Frequent urination in women has unique symptoms, so understanding the causes — and solutions — can help.
Causes of frequent urination in women include pregnancy, childbirth, urinary tract infections, an overactive bladder, and bladder stones, among other issues. Understanding the underlying cause of your frequent urination will help you find the right solution, which may include changing your diet, doing pelvic floor exercises, or losing weight.
Common Symptoms of Frequent Urination
Did you know that you should be able to sleep 6-8 hours without having to urinate?
The most common symptoms of frequent urination in women include having to urinate more often than normal and having to go to the bathroom at night. Under normal circumstances, most people should be able to sleep for six to eight hours without having to urinate.
However, if you experience frequent urination, you may have to get up multiple times at night. You may also have a sudden, strong urge to urinate and feel like your bladder is full or uncomfortable. This feeling of urgency can happen at any time during the day or night.
Similarly, when you have excessive urination, you may not be able to hold it in or wait to use the bathroom. Some women may even lose control of their bladder and experience leaks.
Causes of Frequent Urination in Women
Various health conditions and lifestyle habits can cause frequent urination in women. By tracking your symptoms and how often you use the bathroom, you may notice a pattern. You'll also be able to share this information with your healthcare provider if necessary.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Bacteria usually cause UTIs, and if you do have a UTI or kidney infection, you should seek the assistance of your healthcare provider. However, some UTI home remedies can help reduce their occurrence or help relieve symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of a UTI are frequent or sudden urges to urinate or a burning feeling. If the infection reaches your kidneys, you may have other symptoms like fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, and pain in the abdomen.
An overactive bladder (OAB) is a common health condition that can also cause frequent urination. It happens when your bladder pushes urine out at the wrong time.
Symptoms of an overactive bladder include having to urinate eight times a day or more, having sudden or strong urges to urinate, and leaking urine.
Some people also experience nocturia — the need to wake up and urinate at night. Nerve concerns and low estrogen levels from menopause can cause OAB.[5, 6] See your healthcare provider if you think you have OAB.
Wow! Did you know that during your pregnancy you produce a hormone that causes you to urinate more?
Pregnant women go through many changes, and some of these can increase the frequency with which you have to urinate. During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, and it affects blood flow in the pelvic area so you urinate more often.
As the baby grows, it pushes down on your bladder and other parts of the urinary system. This can make the muscles in your pelvic area weaker, so you're more likely to have leaks or urinary concerns, especially in the third trimester.
After childbirth, you may continue to have a need to use the bathroom frequently, or other urinary conditions. You're more likely to experience these issues if you have a vaginal delivery. Although natural and healthy, this type of delivery may weaken the muscles in your pelvic area and affect the nerves that work to keep urine in the bladder.
It takes about 6 weeks for your pelvic area to heal after childbirth.
Having a difficult labor and delivery can also increase your risk of having urinary incontinence. Usually, these issues go away after about six weeks because your muscles need time to heal. Doing Kegel exercises for your pelvic floor muscles can make a big difference.
Your body needs water to sustain itself, but the exact amount can vary depending on your age, weight, or activity level. In general, women need about 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water per day, though the specific amount varies according to your weight. We recommend drinking at last half your body weight in ounces daily.
However, if you're drinking a particularly high amount of water, it may increase your need to go to the bathroom. If you constantly feel thirsty and also have a frequent need to urinate, these symptoms might indicate diabetes, so talk to your healthcare provider about it.
A bladder stone is a buildup of minerals that looks like a small, hard crystal; one of the symptoms is the frequent urge to urinate.
Other symptoms of bladder stones include interrupted urine streams, blood in the urine, dark urine color, and concerns urinating. You'll want to drink six to eight glasses of water per day to help the stones pass. If you're prone to bladder or kidney stones, cleansing the kidneys might help to improve your overall urinary tract health.
There are many reasons for frequent urination in addition to the ones described above. Some other common health conditions and reasons that increase your need to urinate include:
- Diabetes: You're more likely to have frequent urination if your diabetes is undiagnosed or not managed well.
- Constipation: A hard, compacted stool puts pressure on your bladder and makes you want to urinate more.
- Age: As you grow older, it affects the function of your urinary system and can lead to a weaker bladder wall and pelvic muscles.
- Interstitial cystitis: Known as bladder pain syndrome, this condition can cause frequent and urgent urination.
- Cystocele: Known as prolapsed or dropped bladder, cystocele can cause frequent and urgent urination.
- Taking certain drugs: Some drugs, such as ones for high blood pressure, can make you urinate more because they flush fluids. Certain herbs and supplements may also act as diuretics, increasing your urge to urinate.
Home Remedies for Frequent Urination
Lifestyle changes can help with frequent urination. Consider keeping a journal to track what causes you to urinate more often and when it happens. This can help you identify which foods, beverages, or lifestyle factors affect you the most.
You may need to modify your diet to remove foods and drinks that have a diuretic effect and cause you to pass urine. Avoid the following foods that can irritate the bladder:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Carbonated drinks
- Spicy foods
- Caffeine (tea, coffee, energy drinks)
Monitor Your Fluid Intake
Pay attention to your fluid intake throughout the day and night. You may want to keep a diary to track the total amount of fluid you drink. Make sure you include all beverages, like tea, and not just water.
Avoid drinking too much water as you get closer to nighttime, so you can get some rest instead of visiting the bathroom at night.
Pro tip: Aim for 3 sets of Kegel exercises with 10-15 reps per day to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Kegel exercises are one of the best ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which not only improves your pelvic floor strength, but may reduce accidental urine leaks, and get your post-pregnancy strength back in this region.
These type of retraining exercises not only help your bladder, uterus, and bowels — they can boost your sex life.
Women often learn about these during pregnancy. They involve actively engaging the muscles on your pelvic floor, clenching them and holding for up to ten seconds. Some people think of them like pretending you have to urinate and holding it in.
You can do them at home, in the car, and anytime you think about it. Aim for at least three sets per day, with 10 to 15 repetitions each time.
Researchers have looked at other remedies for frequent urination. For instance, acupuncture shows promise, but more studies are needed. You may want to try the following:
- Losing weight to reduce the pressure on your bladder.
- Quitting smoking because it can affect your urinary system and overall health.
- Training your bladder by going to the bathroom at specific times.
When to See a Healthcare Provider
If the need to frequently urinate lasts for a prolonged period of time or gets worse, you may need to see a healthcare provider. They can examine to check for inflammation or signs of infection, as well as a urine analysis, ultrasound, and other tests.
Depending on the cause of your frequent urination, you may need to seek the assistance of your healthcare provider. Some natural healthcare providers recommend estrogen creams that lower the risk of UTIs in post-menopausal women.
Points to Remember
Frequent urination in women can have many causes, including urinary tract infection, overactive bladder, pregnancy, childbirth, or bladder stones. You may need to modify your diet and remove foods or beverages that irritate your bladder.
Also, pay attention to your fluid intake and make sure you're not drinking too much water. Consider trying Kegel exercises to strengthen your bladder. If symptoms get worse or don't go away, make sure you talk to a healthcare provider about urinating more often than normal.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.