Frequent urination or the feeling of frequent urinary urgency is a condition that can signify several underlying causes. Depending on the cause, frequent urination may be a temporary problem, or it may be a constant issue that can be difficult to overcome. Frequent urination can be a limiting and frustrating condition, since it prevents you from taking part in prolonged activities away from a bathroom, unless you are willing to risk extreme discomfort.
Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the bladder, which leads to accidental urine leakage. Incontinence is most common in the elderly, but it can also occur in younger adults. There are several different kinds of incontinence: stress incontinence is leakage that occurs when a sudden stress is placed upon the body, such as sneezing, coughing, or lifting a large amount of weight; urge incontinence is when a sudden urgent need to urinate causes leakage; and functional incontinence is leakage that happens because you are physically unable to make it to the bathroom in time to urinate.
Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is when the bladder and urinary tract get infected with bacteria, most often from fecal matter gaining access to the urinary tract through the urethra. The infection causes the bladder to become inflamed, causing the bladder to constrict, which leads to frequent urination. Frequently going to the bathroom during the night or experiencing painful urination is also likely with a UTI. UTIs occur more frequently in women than men.
Enlarged or Infected Prostate
In men, conditions that can lead to frequent urination are enlarged prostate and prostate infections. When the prostate becomes enlarged or infected with bacteria, it puts pressure on the bladder which is nearby, reducing the volume that the bladder can hold, and creating a sense of urinary urgency. Surgery for enlarged prostate can sometimes alleviate the problem, and prostate infections can be cleared up with medication.
When the muscles around the bladder, pelvic floor and urethra weaken, or the sphincter of the bladder weakens, the need to urinate will likely increase. Muscles tend to get weaker over time when they are not used, and in old age, the body begins to waste, or atrophy, naturally. Doing exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor may decrease the need to urinate.
Frequent urination can be brought on by many other causes. Diabetes can lead to frequent urination, since extra blood sugar in the urine pulls more liquid into the bladder. Kidney disease and heart disease can also lead to frequent urination, as they can lead to fluid buildup in the body. Certain medications, such as diuretics, can also lead to frequent urination.