Polyuria is a medical symptom in which someone produces an unusually high volume of urine. Sometimes people just urinate a lot because they drink a lot of fluids, but sometimes polyuria is a symptom of an underlying medical condition which needs to be addressed. This symptom can be accompanied by polydipsia, defined as increased thirst; the two conditions are often linked in a cycle as the body struggles to cope with an imbalance going on inside.
Polydipsia and polyuria are two hallmark symptoms of diabetes which can be an important diagnostic clue. However, polyuria can also be caused by a wide range of other conditions. For example, sometimes people with buildups of fluid such as ascites and edema start to express the fluid in their urine. Certain medications can also cause it, with diuretics being a notable example, and there are many other health conditions associated with excessive urination.
People with polyuria find that they need to eliminate urine frequently, and that when they do urinate, the urine volume may be higher than normal. If a lot of water is being consumed at the same time, the urine may be relatively pale in color. In some patients, polyuria occurs more at night, with people getting up multiple times during the evening to urinate. Sometimes people can wet the bed because they don't realize how urgently they needed to pee.
If polyuria happens on a single day and someone remembers drinking a lot of fluids, especially tea or coffee, probably no medical attention is needed, especially if no other abnormal symptoms are noted. The body is simply processing the fluid it doesn't need and getting rid of it. While this can be inconvenient, it is not a cause for alarm; though it may be a cause to moderate coffee and tea intake in the future. Patients who know that they have conditions which cause excessive urination may take the polyuria as a sign that the condition is not being well managed, and it is time to see a doctor to evaluate the current treatment plan.
When a patient experiences polyuria combined with excessive thirst and it goes on for more than a day, it is time to take a trip to the doctor. The doctor can evaluate the patient to explore possible causes, and use some diagnostic tests to learn more about the patient's situation. Hopefully, treating the condition causing the excessive urination will also resolve the polyuria. Patients should be aware that many of the conditions which are associated with excessive urination are chronic, so treatment is focused on management, not finding a cure.