Nocturia - are you losing sleep?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

Tired from having to get up all night to go to the toilet

Feeling tired from interrupted sleep because you need to go to the toilet too often during the night, if so, then you may be experiencing Nocturia.

Nocturia is the medical term for getting up too often in the night to go to the toilet usually more than once in a night.

It’s a condition most commonly seen in pregnancy, menopause and older women, though it can happen to men and women of any age, and it disturbs your sleep and can leave you exhausted the next day.

It’s considered normal to get up once in the night to go to the toilet, but any more than this, it’s wise to get it checked out and see if there is an underlying cause – because rather than suffering in silence, there is something that can be done to help.

Causes of Nocturia

In women, the most common causes of Nocturia are prolapse, menopause and pregnancy.

When a woman is pregnant, the pelvic floor is stretched to the limit, meaning that you can’t hold urine as well as before – however, this can be helped with pelvic floor exercises before, during and after pregnancy.

In men, the most common cause of Nocturia is an enlarged prostate – but don’t be embarrassed to see your GP, he or she will be able to help you – don’t suffer in silence!

Other factors causing Nocturia include:

  • Diuretic medications – they promote increases in urine

  • Caffeine and alcohol – both stimulate the bladder and increase urine production

  • Excessive fluids before bedtime

  • Excessive salt in the diet - a recent study at Nagasaki University tracked patients who had a high salt intake and sleeping problems for 3 months, after giving them advice to cut back on salt in their diet. The result? Trips to the loo decreased from on average 2 per night to just one. Not only did this reduce loo visits at night, it also reduced day time toilet trips too.

  • Reduced nocturnal bladder capacity

  • Redistribution of fluid – if you suffer with fluid retention during the day this is reabsorbed into the blood stream when you lie down causing more urine at night.

  • Hormonal changes - as we age we produce more urine at night

There can be other, more serious, causes of Nocturia such as diabetes, cystitis or kidney problems, so if anything is concerning you or there has been a sudden change, go see your GP.

Nocturia can cut your productivity by 24%

At the European Association of Urology congress in Milan 2013 clinical research revealed that people suffering Nocturia were 24% less productive at work.

A total of 261 women and 385 men suffering with Nocturia completed a standardised work productivity and activity impairment questionnaire. What the questionnaire revealed was that work productivity was reduced more in the Nocturia sufferers than in those suffering with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This highlights the problem that many people experience both from partners and the medical profession - that Nocturia should not be dismissed as less serious than other chronic conditions.

Don’t suffer in silence; there are things that can help!

What can be done to help?

  • Sometimes, it can be something as simple as fluid rebalancing – as easy as drinking less fluid before you go to bed!

  • It could also involve taking an afternoon nap or wearing compression stockings to prevent fluid retention.

  • There are a number of medications on the market that your doctor can prescribe to help, no matter what is causing your Nocturia – anticholergenic medications can prevent bladder spasms and help you better control when you need to go to the toilet, desmopressin can make your kidneys produce less urine, and diuretics, for example furosemide, can help to regulate your urine output throughout the day, meaning that you’re less likely to need to go to the toilet in the night.

  • NICE also reports sacral nerve stimulation as a more common treatment for OAB symptoms, which includes Nocturia.

A first line treatment often recommended for patients, particularly women, in the treatment of Nocturia are pelvic floor exercises.

By strengthening the pelvic floor using the Knack Manoeuvre as well as doing Kegels regularly, you can retain your urine better and be less likely to need to go to the toilet in the night.

The Kegel8 Ultra 20 Pelvic Toner has programmes suitable for treating the two major causes of nocturia – for an overactive bladder (OAB) muscle and general pelvic floor weakness, which leads to a weak bladder.

Pelvic floor exercises with the Kegel8 Ultra 20 Pelvic Toner can also help the symptoms of a prolapse (another cause of nocturia). Manual pelvic floor exercisers can also help women after pregnancy to regain the pelvic floor strength that they had before!

Nocturia happens to men and women of all ages so don’t be embarrassed, there is help out there.

Take back control!

Can a bed-wetting alarm help adults with Nocturia?

If you are an older adult and and you have recently started wetting the bed at night sadly enuresis alarms, or bed-wetting alarms won't work according to guidance given by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence). That's because a enuresis alarm works by helping to teach the brain that the bladder is full.

If, as an adult you've already learned that (meaning that previously you've been dry for many years) alarms will not change nighttime bed-wetting.

NICE goes on to recommend Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises and other incontinence treatments to treat Nocturia.


Original article: Kegel8 Website

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