Nocturia — It's More Than Just "Getting Older"
Is your bladder waking you up at night? Turns out, it's not just "a part of getting older." It's a real medical condition.
It's called nocturia. You may have never heard of the name, but I'm sure you've experienced it before. It's the thing that wakes you up in the middle of the night needing to go.
Today, I want to talk to you about nocturia. Mostly about what it is, why it might be affecting you, and what you can do about it.
What is nocturia?It may sound like a superhero name, but it's something much more serious. Nocturia is a condition that causes you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. And no — it's not just a part of getting older. It's a real medical condition affecting over 40 million people in the US.
Unfortunately, the effects can seep into the rest of your life. Having nocturia means less sleep, trouble concentrating & fatigue.
There is some good news at the end of this tunnel though. Nocturia doesn't have to be permanent. In fact, there are some simple changes you can make to reduce it — if not fix it altogether.
But before we dive into that, we have to look at what causes it.
There are a few different culprits. And it's different for both men & women. For women, it could be from childbirth, menopause, or pelvic organ prolapse. For men, it could be benign prostatic hyperplasia — a fancy way to say enlarged prostate.
There are some causes that affect both men & women too. The most common ones include:
Routines. Sometimes, your body gets these nightly nature calls as a part of your routine. If you condition your body to go at certain times of the day, it'll do just that.
Diuretic medications. Also known as water pills. They help your body get rid of salt by releasing it into your urine. Side effect — you have to pee more often.
Caffeine & Alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. Meaning they promote water loss through urine.
Diminished bladder capacity. Your urine production could be higher at night (and more than your bladder can hold). Causing you to wake up & empty it more often.
There are more causes of course. And the only way to know yours is to talk to a doctor. You may think you're suffering from nocturia because of something serious. And it could be something as simple as too much coffee.
Speaking of solving it, here are some nocturia treatment options.
After digging, it seems like there are 3 ways to deal with nocturia.
No matter what route you choose, you should see a doctor first. They can rule out any serious health problems that cause nocturia as a side effect. Things like diabetes, high blood pressure and even heart disease can all cause nocturia.
So now that you've talked to your doctor, here are 3 ways you can deal with nocturia.
The first is with a lifestyle change. This is probably the easiest to start. There are things you can do in your day-to-day that can help your bladder prepare for the night. Drinking less liquid, afternoon naps & even raising your legs while you sleep can all help.
Next up are prescriptions. Sometimes, your nocturia needs more than a lifestyle shift. There are a lot of medications for nocturia. So make sure to talk with your doctor first to find out what's right for you.
And finally, if your nocturia continues, there's management. Things like mattress pads or absorbent briefs can help. And there are even some skincare products that help combat irritation.
Nocturia is not simply "a part of getting older." So don't ignore it. With the proper steps, you can manage or even reduce how much it affects your life.