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What is Urinary Frequency?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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Urinary frequency is an overhead term that means frequent urination. It can occur in many types of people (men, women, seniors, children, etc) and it may result from a number of conditions. The one thing that is not considered urinary frequency is if a person drinks a large amount of fluids and then has extra urination; this would be normal. Instead frequency tends to mean abnormally frequent urination unrelated to consumption of a high volume of liquids.

Some conditions that affect the bladder may cause urinary frequency. It is a common symptom of things like bladder infections or of conditions where the bladder is somehow irritated or overworking. Overactive bladder may be an example of this. Pregnancy is another. Surgery or injury in the pelvis could damage a bladder and result in temporary or longer lasting frequent urination, too.

In men, urinary frequency might be caused if there is benign enlargement of the prostate gland, called benign prostate hyperplasia. Alternately the condition may be induced by surgery on the prostate or on any of the structures that make up the urinary tract. Either gender might experience this condition as a result of certain illnesses such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and infections or disease of the kidneys.

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Other potential causal factors of urinary frequency include aging, multiple sclerosis and psychological status. Alternately, the condition may simply be a side effect of other behaviors. There are many medications that result in urinary frequency, including things like diuretics, and lithium, which is often used in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Given the vast number of potential causes of urinary frequency, it may be difficult to self-diagnose. Sometimes the cause is obvious. Pregnant women for instance can expect to have higher frequency of need in the first part of pregnancy, and in the third trimester the weight of the baby on the bladder may cause need to “go” quite often. Taking medications that are diuretics will induce this symptom, and those on these medications should know ahead of time to expect this.

In other instances, it isn’t clear why the condition is occurring, especially if the onset is sudden. Symptoms such as pain during urination or presence of blood in the urine might indicate infection or other illnesses. Given that urinary frequency may suggest kidney disorders, enlarged prostate, diabetes, or a variety of infections it’s very important to see a doctor if this condition emerges. With exam and testing, doctors can often determine cause of the problem and may be able to suggest measures to either alleviate it to some degree or cure it completely. Moreover, a doctor can suggest treatment for any underlying medical conditions that are very serious and need care right away.

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