ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have to get up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom?

Question

Why do I have to get up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom?

I am 52 years old and I consistently have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I have been doing this for years. I stop drinking water at least 3 hours before I go to bed. I think this is out of habit more than anything, but my friends think I should see a doctor because it could be something serious.

Answer

Nocturia, the act of urinating more frequently at night, is an unfortunate problem that disrupts sleep and can be a sign of other medical conditions, just like your friends have said. While you don't mention your gender, one common cause of frequent night time urination is benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH. Most males will experience some degree of enlargement of their prostate gland. Because the prostate gland is located immediately under the bladder and surrounds the urethra (where the urine passes out), this growth causes the urine stream to be constricted and makes it so that the patient has some difficulty voiding freely. By definition, this growth is benign, meaning not cancerous, but it obviously can affect quality of life greatly by causing the patient to have to use the bathroom frequently and thus disrupting more parts of life than just your sleep. There are other common causes of nocturia as well, some of which can be serious. Diabetes, for example, will also cause people to urinate more frequently, and is often one of the early signs of the disease. Given your age, you should have had a recent preventive health examination including a colonoscopy. Annual physicals are the perfect opportunity to discuss this concern and others, so please speak to your primary care doctor soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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