Why is it that you always have to pee at the most inconvenient times? When you’re in the middle of a meeting, during the best part of a movie or when you just got in the car to go somewhere—it almost never fails. And while those frequent visits to the bathroom may be annoying during the day, it’s definitely no fun when it’s the middle of the night.
But turns out, waking up one or more times a night to go to the bathroom is a super common problem for people of all ages. Overtime, this can lead to disrupted sleep and a host of other effects ranging from stress and irritability to exhaustion and lower quality of life.
Even though nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, is common, that doesn’t mean that you can’t minimize the common causes. Here are 5 things that may be upping your midnight pit stops:
1. Fluid and Caffeine Intake
It may seem obvious, but cutting back on fluid intake before bed can go a long way in the pursuit of a full night’s sleep. Diuretics, like coffee and alcohol, also increase urine production and can leave you waking up to pee in the wee hours. The caffeine won’t help you stay asleep either.
Practice better drinking habits by stopping fluid intake 2 to 4 hours before bed and removing caffeine and alcohol consumption from your evening entirely. Certain medications are also diuretics, so be sure to research your prescriptions and try taking them in the morning if you can.
2. Other Sleep Issues
A lot of times, we aren’t waking up to pee, we’re peeing because we woke up. In fact, your brain actually works to suppress the urge to urinate while you sleep. Once we’re awake, though, it’s hard to ignore the feeling of a full(ish) bladder. And heck, you might as well go while you’re awake.
Unrelated sleep issues like insomnia or sleep apnea, for instance, may be the real offenders. Talk to your primary care provider about ways to identify and treat common sleep problems, and you may find your late night pees to be few and far between.
3. Bladder or Prostate Issues
Sometimes late night urination may be a sign of bladder or prostate issues. Bladder irritation can be the result of anything from spicy food to urinary tract infections. However, bladder issues often present themselves throughout the day as well as at night. For men, an enlarged prostate gland can cause urination problems as they age. The added pressure on the bladder can make it feel like they need to pee, increasing the frequency of bathroom breaks both during the day and at night.
Managing bladder or prostate issues with your primary care provider will offer relief, putting a stop to those sleepless nights spent trekking back and forth between a warm, cozy bed and those cold bathroom floor tiles.
Like many health issues, genetics may be to blame for your poorly-timed tinkles. A recent study has identified a protein known as Cx43 that determines how full your bladder can get before your body signals that it’s time to pee. The higher your Cx43 levels, the less urine you can hold before the urge to go is triggered. While Cx43 levels are determined by genetics, researchers are developing ways to target therapy to genes that express Cx43 in the bladder.
5. An Underlying Condition
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of chronic conditions that contribute to frequent urination. The two biggest culprits are diabetesand heart disease. In diabetics, excess glucose rushes to the kidneys, bringing water with it. This water ultimately ends up in the bladder, causing it to fill up quicker than the bladders of nondiabetics.
On the other hand, heart issues can prohibit proper blood flow, causing fluids to build up in the body. As a result, the kidneys and bladder work harder to dispel the excess fluid. Other conditions affecting the urinary tract specifically, including pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, urinary tract infections and a prolapsed uteruscan cause these same issues.
Don’t fight the urge to go. To the doctor that is. Because anything from your dietand exercise routine to your family health history and age can impact your bathroom habits, you may not find the cause on your own. By working with the experts at Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care, you’ll find the care you need to get a full night’s rest—pee-break free.