If you suffer from nighttime frequent urination, also called nighttime incontinence and nocturia, you've probably suffered through the sleep disturbance and embarrassment it can cause. Fortunately, there are a number of lifestyle changes that can help you control your symptoms without drugs or surgery, including dietary modifications, exercises, and changes in your toileting habits. Medications are also available that can treat the condition, as are surgical procedures. The surgeries for nighttime frequent urination, however, are only for the most serious cases, as they have life-altering consequences, and complications can be severe.
It is important to take action when you begin to experience nighttime frequent urination. Nighttime incontinence is usually caused by an overactive bladder, a condition characterized by the sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate. When this happens at night, you may end up wetting the bed, or you may experience frequent awakening in response to your urges. It's a good idea to visit your family doctor and tell him about your symptoms so he can rule out more serious causes of your incontinence. Once diagnosed with overactive bladder, your doctor will probably begin your treatment by suggesting lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes for treating nighttime frequent urination include not drinking liquids after 6 p.m. and not drinking or eating foods that irritate your bladder or act as diuretics, such as caffeine, alcohol, and citrus fruits. Many doctors also recommend double-voiding before bed, meaning that you urinate twice. Try using the toilet and then brushing your teeth and putting on your pajamas and then urinating again. Kegal exercises, in which you contract and release your pelvic floor, can also be a huge help in treating nighttime frequent urination.
When nighttime urinating doesn't improve with lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend incontinence drugs such as Detrol, Oxytrol, or Enablex. These drugs work by relaxing the bladder, though they can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, that can make matters worse by causing you to drink more liquids. Other treatments include acupuncture, biofeedback, and sacral nerve stimulation.
Surgical options for incontinence are fairly radical and generally only used in severe cases when other treatments prove ineffective. In one surgery, a piece of your bladder is replaced with a piece of your bowel to enhance your bladder's capacity for urine. If you choose this option, you will have to use a catheter periodically for the rest of your life. Another even more radical option is to remove your bladder entirely. You will have to wear a bag on the outside of your body to collect urine for the rest of your life.