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Nocturia: How to Stop Frequent Urination at Night

Reviewed by: Missy Nolan

Overview of Frequent Urination at Night

Having an overactive bladder at night can interrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tired and irritable. Frequent urination at night is defined as waking up to urinate more than once in a single night. If you are awakened by the urge to visit the bathroom more often than this, you might be experiencing nocturia. This is a common condition that most often affects those over 60 years old.

There are four different types of nocturia:

  • Nocturnal polyuria: A condition where your body produces excessive urine at night
  • Global polyuria: Your body produces an increased amount of urine both during the day and during the night
  • Low nocturnal bladder capacity: This is when your bladder is incapable of holding the normal amount of fluid at night
  • Mixed nocturia: This condition is a combination of the other three types   

Causes of Frequent Urination at Night

Here are some of the most common causes for having an overactive bladder at night, according to type:

Global and Nocturnal polyuria

Low nocturnal bladder capacity

Excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, or other fluids


Gestational diabetes

Tumor in bladder

Diabetes insipidus

Bladder obstruction

Uncontrolled diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2)


Congestive heart failure


Swelling in the legs

Urinary tract infection

Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders

Interstitial cystitis

Certain medications

Enlarged prostate or a benign prostatic hyperplasia


Medications that can cause increased nighttime urination include the following:

  • Diuretics
  • Dilantin
  • Declomycin
  • Lithium
  • Cardiac glycosides
  • Propoxyphene
  • Methoxyflurane
  • Too much vitamin D

Symptoms of Frequent Urination at Night

Common symptoms of nighttime urination are:

  • Waking up at least twice a night to urinate
  • Creating a larger volume of urine than is typical for you
  • Experiencing sleepiness or fatigue during the day due to interrupted sleep

Speak to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing so you can find the underlying cause. 

Diagnosis of Frequent Urination at Night

A proper diagnosis is the first step when you’re wondering how to stop frequent urination at night. Your doctor will ask you to give detailed information regarding your nighttime urination. It’s helpful to keep a journal to record the important details. Things to note include how much liquid you typically drink before bed, how often you wake at night to go to the bathroom, and how much urine output there is each time. Give these details to your healthcare provider to help them notice any patterns and make an informed diagnosis.

Your doctor will also want to know about any medications you are currently taking along with the symptoms you are experiencing. Be specific and report issues with fatigue, pain, or difficulty in urinating which could point toward a urinary tract infection. Be prepared to answer questions about when the problem began and your lifestyle habits.

Once your medication history and current concerns are explored, you will likely undergo a physical examination to monitor your current health and rule out any underlying medical issues. Depending on which symptoms you describe and the severity of the problem, your provider may run the following tests:

  • Sleep study: evaluates your sleep patterns and looks for sleep apnea
  • Urinalysis: checks your urine for signs of infection
  • Cystoscopy: uses a small camera inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder
  • Cystometry: measures bladder pressure
  • Ultrasound: provides images of the bladder
  • CT scan: this may be necessary if a more detailed image of the urinary system is needed beyond what the ultrasound provides

Following your initial appointment with your doctor, you may need to schedule an appointment with a specialist for further evaluation if your provider confirms you have nocturia.

Treatment Options for Frequent Urination at Night

There are two main types of treatments for nocturia. The first is to manage and correct the condition through lifestyle changes. The second involves medical interventions such as medications, treatments, and surgery.

Lifestyle Changes

You can make a big impact on your symptoms by making the decision to change your lifestyle habits. Most of these are very simple. Your doctor can provide you with a list of behaviors and actions to follow. One of the first suggestions is typically to reduce the volume of fluids you consume shortly before going to bed at night. If you limit your fluid intake several hours before your designated bedtime, you reduce the likelihood of needing to get up multiple times at night to visit the bathroom. It’s important that you monitor how much fluid you drink throughout the day so you stay hydrated. Try to stick to water and avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.

Weight management is another lifestyle change that can bring relief. If you carry excess weight, this puts added pressure on your bladder, which may be the reason behind you getting up several times every night to void your bladder. Better attention to your diet and exercise can help you drop those pounds and relieve the strain, letting you sleep more soundly all night.

If you take a medication that is known to cause an overactive bladder at night, you might want to switch the time of day you take it. Always speak with your doctor before making any changes to your prescription drug routine. Your provider can help you choose the right time of day and assist you in making it an easy transition.

Elevate your legs during the daytime to help reduce swelling, also called edema. You can combine this practice with an afternoon nap. Napping is also helpful to treat nocturia. Make these two practices even more effective by wearing compression stockings that help reduce the buildup of fluid.

The stress of dealing with nocturia is often exacerbated by accidents caused when you can’t make it to the bathroom on time. The added strain, wasted time, and worry over changing sheets in the middle of the night further can reduce your sleep and increase your anxiety. Fortunately, Nexwear has a number of products to help. Check out their Premium Protection Underwear and Maximum Pads.

Medical Treatments

Your doctor may want you to try implementing some or all of the above lifestyle changes to treat your nocturia before pursuing other types of treatment. If these aren’t enough to correct the problem or bring adequate relief, your doctor could prescribe medications called anticholinergics for some types of overactive bladder. Another option is a diuretic to help regulate your urine production. Remember to take your diuretic early in the day since these medications can contribute to nighttime urination if taken too late. Other common medications prescribed for nocturia are:

  • Diabetic medications to lower blood sugar
  • Antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection
  • Desmopressin for diabetes insipidus to help the kidneys reduce urine output
  • Tamsulosin or another medication to treat an enlarged prostate

Nerve Stimulation

If the cause of your nocturia is neurological, then nerve stimulation can be an effective treatment. There are invasive and noninvasive options. Noninvasive treatment options involving electrical stimulation are still being studied and developed to treat nocturia. The invasive treatment is to implant a device near your tailbone that is responsible for sending the signals the bladder nerves can't. This method is a long-term solution. It is generally considered safe and can be reversed if needed. 


When lifestyle changes and medications don't have the desired effect, you might want to consider surgery. Your doctor will discuss your situation and the best options. Surgery has a greater success rate when used to treat certain types of nocturia and the underlying health conditions that cause it. Surgery is not suitable for all cases of frequent urination at night. 

The Bottom Line

Now that you know more about the causes of nocturia, you understand how to stop frequent urination at night to get better sleep. The steps to take are:

  • Visit your doctor for a diagnosis
  • Take prescribed medications at the appropriate times
  • Watch your fluid intake
  • Manage your weight
  • Take daytime naps

Make a habit of keeping a journal to track your progress and help yourself and your doctor manage your condition in the best way possible. While lifestyle changes and following the medical advice of your physician are key elements to controlling your nocturia, you can also make the experience more comfortable and lessen the inconvenience by using the discreet and effective products from Nexwear.

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