How to Treat Nocturia


Nocturia is a common problem, described as the uncontrollable urge to urinate excessively during sleeping hours. A mild irritation to some, for others it can make it virtually impossible to obtain a restful sleep. The causes of nocturia vary and the condition occurs among both men and women. Some causative conditions can be treated while others are much more difficult.

Getting a Diagnosis of Nocturia

Analyze what might be triggering nocturia. For example, it is not uncommon for the condition to be present among individuals who wet the bed as children; those who drink more liquids than average, particularly at bedtime; and those who drink certain types of liquids, such as alcohol, tea, or caffeinated drinks. It is also often present in individuals who use diuretics.

Document the information a physician will require to make a proper diagnosis. Include how many times you get up at night to urinate and the amount of urine released. Record the type and amount of liquid taken in after 6 pm. Note any medications currently prescribed or taken over the counter. Identify any potential related illness, like a urinary tract infection, or any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms.

Make a doctor’s appointment for a physical exam. There are several physical conditions that could result in nocturia. These include bladder infection, diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, incontinence, insomnia, kidney failure, pregnancy, prostate problems, restless leg syndrome, urinary tract infection, vascular disease and others. With proper medical treatment for these conditions, nocturia may be resolved.

Ask the physician to prescribe alternative medications to any currently being taken that that have been directly linked to nocturia. These include those used to treat bipolar disorders, cardiac problems and excess fluid elimination (diuretics).

Get diagnostic tests. These may include a urinalysis, a urine culture, an ultrasound or another similar test to measure the amount of post-void urine retained.

Make an appointment with a recommended specialist if required by the general practice physician. If he or she cannot pinpoint the exact cause for the nocturia, an endocrinologist, gynecologist, neurologist, sleep expert or urologist may be required in order to do so.

Treating Nocturia

Make behavioral changes, as recommended. This may require a limit on the types and amounts of liquids imbibed after a certain hour. It may also include several others steps, including leg elevation at bedtime, taking naps in the late morning to mid afternoon and wearing compression hosiery.

Take prescription medication. Bumetanide or furosemide can regulate urine production and decrease the amount accumulated at night. Darifenacin is used to slow or stop bladder spasms. Desmopressin -- a hormone-mimicking drug -- causes the kidney to produce less urine and, therefore, less need for nighttime voiding. Imipramine may decrease the amount of urine produced. Oxybutynin, solifenacin, or tolterodine may be used to relax the muscles of the bladder, causing less need for nighttime urination. Trospium chloride can be used to block receptors found along the bladder wall that often result in an overactive bladder.

Use traditional Chinese medical treatment, including acupuncture, as a more holistic alternative. Such treatments tend to focus on the kidney to reduce the amount of urine produced as well as removing liver problems that may result in urinary imbalance. Acupuncture treatments typically focus on yang deficiencies or imbalances in the bladder, kidney, spleen and stomach.

Take recommended herbal medicines like Bu Gu Zhi, Sang Pao Xiao, Sha Yan Zi, and Tu Si Zi, that focus on the kidney; Shu Di Huang and Rou Gui for kidney nourishment; and Huang Qi and Sh Yan Zi to strengthen the spleen.

Use Qi Gong (Chinese) exercise treatments to improve the strength of the kidney and spleen as well as to treat underlying causes of nocturia.

Tips & Warnings

  • Nocturia may affect as many as 50% to 75% of the world's population. Nocturia used to be considered a symptom of other medical conditions but is now recognized as a full-fledged condition of its own. Fear of nocturia may actually help induce the sleeping problem in some individuals. Sleep apnea can result in nocturia because it interrupts an individual's normal sleep rhythm. Traditional Chinese medicine has shown good success in treating nocturia.
  • Lack of sleep can lead to tiredness during the day or even result in bodily harm while driving or operating dangerous equipment.

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