Are you wearing a hole in the carpet from walking to the bathroom from your bedroom at night? Maybe you feel like you have to go after every sip of liquid?
Before you assume you have a pea-sized bladder, Vivian Sung, MD, of the Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at Women & Infants Hospital and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says there are some things you should know about urinary frequency. By definition, women who have to go to the bathroom to void every two to three hours are considered hindered by bothersome urinary frequency.
How often should I be going?
- Daytime – Every three to four hours is the average for urinating during the day.
- Nighttime – Waking up once a night to urinate is not considered medically abnormal. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that 72% of women aged 25 to 84 reported waking up at least once per night to go to the bathroom. In addition, 33% of women the same age report going to the bathroom at least every two hours at night.
- Anytime – Having to urinate every two hours or less may be considered out of the norm, especially if it is new or bothersome.
Can I control my frequent urination?
Urinary frequency is something you may be able to control because it is a subjective and age-related condition. If you feel you urinate too often, start by keeping a diary of when and what you drink and when you void. If you find you are regularly voiding every two to three hours, take a look at what you are drinking.
Before looking into treatment with a urogynecologist, Dr. Sung recommends eliminating all sources of caffeine from your diet. That’s not just coffee. Caffeine is in soda, energy drinks, and even some alcoholic beverages.
I drink a lot of water because I heard it’s healthy. Should I still be peeing so much?
Dr. Sung explains that while staying hydrated is important, you don’t necessarily need to force yourself to drink excessive fluid unless there is a medical need.
“There are no simple answers to exactly how much fluid someone needs,” she says, adding that, “up to 25% of the water we need already comes from food.”
Generally speaking, if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is light and colorless, your fluid intake is probably adequate.
“You should stay hydrated throughout the day, but in a normally hydrated person, any extra fluid that goes in will come out as urine,” Dr. Sung says.