Frequent Urination in Adults

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Getting up all night to pee

Sept 2011

OK, this is embarrassing, but maybe someone out there has some good advice.

For as long as I can remember, I have had to wake up multiple times at night to go to the bathroom. Anywhere between 2-7 times, and as you can imagine, this is severely interfering with my sleep. Background: I am a woman in my mid-30s, have never been pregnant or given birth, am on medications but none of them are supposed to have this effect. I don't drink alcohol and drink very little caffeine. I don't drink much water before bedtime. I don't have to pee too much during the day - maybe a little more than the normal person but nothing pathological. But when I lie down to go to sleep, I often have to get up two or three times before I even fall asleep. Then I wake up several times during the night.

It's not just nervous bladder - I actually have quite a bit of urine. It's been going on way too long to be a bladder infection and I have none of the other symptoms. I havne't been tested for diabetes in a while (five years maybe) but I tested negative then and I have none of the symptoms of diabetes otherwise.

The only thing I can think of - someone told me that eating too much sugar can make you have to urinate more - your body wants to get rid of the glucose or something. Is this true? Could it be related to salt intake or anything?

I'm kind of at the end of my rope but I have individual health insurance and they would love for me to have some kind of condition that could make them kick me off insurance so I'm afraid to go to the doctor. (yes, they really would end my insurance coverage - it happens all the time when people on individual coverage get sick).

Any ideas? Herbal supplements? Diet changes? I don't know what to do!! anon, PLEASE!

I'm not a physician, but I get some of what you describe if I've been on my feet all day long, particularly when taking enough fluids (as people recommend) during the day, and when it's hotter out. It feels like all fluids are sagging to my ankles, and then when I put my feet up, it finally flows back to my middle where my kidneys take care of it or something. So yeah, if the first occasion of the day to put my feet up is at night, that's when I'll be going to the bathroom a lot. Was even worse when I was pregnant. Bad veins or something. I'm sure sugar and salt don't help but I have no particular guidance for you there. I'm looking forward to suggestions too. Putting my feet up if I can

You don't have sleep apnea, do you? I also had to get up 6-7 times a night to use the bathroom, but when I finally started to treat my sleep apnea, that problem was solved overnight. Now I don't even get up once. I think that it has to do with REM sleep. Good luck! lori

Hi, I too was getting up all night to pee. This is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. With sleep apnea you never get into a deep sleep which is when a hormone(?) is produced to control the bladder. As soon as I was treated, I slept through the night or at most get up once a night. I don't know how you treat this without doctors, but it may give you a lead. Good luck sleeping thru the night

I don't have suggestions about what could be causing your problem. But I do question your concern about getting kicked off your insurance. I pay for my own insurance through Kaiser and have for years. I understand your fear. But this sounds like a significant health issue. If you can't actually use your insurance in this case, what's the point of it? And check into whether the new federal laws will protect you from being booted from your insurance. time to see the doctor

This is often due to dependent edema (fluid collection) in your legs during the day due to gravity. Then at night when you're lying flat that fluid gets pulled back into circulation and peed out. So being careful of sodium/salt intake during the day can help to decrease how much fluid you hold onto. And it's actually better to drink even more water during the day to flush out the sodium. Also in the evening, try to put your feet up before bedtime to get them started on draining.

One other possibility is if you're slightly overweight or possibly have sleep apnea. These put more pressure on the bladder at night and also interfere with circulation at times so you can get rushes of urine to the bladder. Good luck! Lisa

You might consider getting a simple lab panel done. I had an issue with low thyroid and after getting on medication, my nightly trip to the bathroom ended. You have insurance for just this sort of thing so see your MD as you want to make sure it isn't something more serious. anon

Hi - what you describe has been the story of my life, although recently I found out that I was anemic and, believe it or not, taking iron has made the need to pee during the night a bit better. I'm not saying that I still don't have to get up, but not as frequently. Good luck. anon

My husband has this problem when he's feeling anxious. I'm always amazed how much he can pee and it only happens at night. Perhaps you're feeling anxious about having o get up? Wife of a pee guy

original poster here - some additional information: I have actually been to three doctors about this some years ago: one said ''If you were a man I'd say it was your prostate but since you're not I just don't know.'' One diagnosed it as ''nocturia'' and told me that meant ''urinating at night.'' No suggestions on treatment. The other just flat out said ''I don't know.'' and tested me for diabetes (negative). So I'm not really optimistic about going back to the doctor!

I am about 15 pounds overweight (and trying so hard to lose it but it's just not leaving!) - don't know if that can be a factor thanks for the suggestions

Feb 2011

My sister is suffering from an overactive or irritable bladder. She said it started after having her first child, 11 years ago. She now has four children. She had the last two by C section, the first two vaginally. The symptoms are that she feels the need to pee all the time and is not sleeping at night because she needs to get up so frequently. She has taken anti-biotics for a UTI but is still needing to go to the toilet very frequently. Her doctor recommended giving up caffiene and alcohol, which she is trying, and to try pelvic floor exercises. I wondered if anyone else out there has any other hints and tips on how to deal with this problem, it is really getting her down. Many thanks. Anon.

I started having the overactive bladder a couple of years ago. Doctor mentioned one hint of pushing on the bladder while still on the toilet, which I had already been doing. He mentioned the caffeine and alcohol triggers. Also, mentioned possible medication which I was hesitant to take, because I'm already on various medications, even though the doctor said it's usually well tolerated. When I went back to the doctor recently, I finally asked for and received the medication because the issue has really been bothering me during the day. I started with just a quarter of a tablet or so and it was helpful. Took it for a few days, and then I forgot. Maybe I'm imagining it but the problem seems to have disappeared. I still have to get up at night, but I'm no longer irritated during waking hours. Perhaps the short course of medication just gave the muscles a break? I have no explanation. In any case, I got results with just a small amount of the medication and I had no side effects. My recommendation is if the level of irritation is high, try the medications. Sixteen waking hours a day of ''that'' is too much. Anonymous

this might help: and it's funny, too

I just posted a long message which seems to have been lost.

To make it brief (and please tell your sister to contact me if she has questions or needs to talk to somebody who has been through what she is going through)...

I think your sister suffers from Interstitial Cystitis, a disease of the bladder lining. Tell her to avoid the scary blogs, go to for all of her information and to schedule some appointments with urologists who are familiar with IC - some of the older ones are not.

Please tell her there are all sorts of drugs out there that can help her condition. Dietary changes and intense stress reduction are also important. This is a manageable disease and there is help to be had. I was 25 when I was diagnosed and was in intense pain for 2 years. Now I am a mother of one and pregnant with another and off all the medications. The disease comes with flares and she is probably in a flare right now. With the right doctor and the right drugs there is relief! marianna

irritable bladder is a terrible condition. i'm assuming your sister had a complete work-up by a urologist or uro- gynecologist to make sure there's nothing else going on, like endometriosis, exotic stds, bladder tumor etc. some women go on low dose imipramine at night, or some other tricyclic like elavil. there's detrol and ditropan (get the long acting kind, fewer side effects). ib is sometimes associated w/ allergy, so a long acting antihistamine like hydroxizine might work. part of the issue is that ib gets you up 5,6,7 times a night just to pee a few teaspoons into the toilet, so not only are you frustrated, but you're exhausted and sleep deprived, which makes the irritability all the worse. could also try some otc anti-inflamatories, like 2 tabs of aleve, at night while she's waiting to get into the doctor. good luck. been there and it sucks

I am experiencing similar symptoms to your sister. It all started following my second C-Section 15 months ago. I have seen a physical therapist through Kaiser Walnut Creek who specializes in this type of thing (she's excellent), and an excellent female urologist as well. Basically, what I was told is that if physical therapy hasn't helped after a few sessions, you need to see a urologist. I just had a bladder study done (not a pleasant experience, catheters and all), but that was necessary to diagnose what was going on. I have been offered several levels of treatment (surgical, medication, or continued physical therapy with biofeedback). I am sticking with the physical therapy and dietary changes for now, but may need to try some of the other options if things don't improve or if they get worse over time. Your sister is welcome to contact me. Please request my contact info from the moderator. anon

She should see her gynecologist. There are many treatment options for overactive bladder - medications, biofeedback, the dietary changes you mentioned. No need to suffer unnecessarily

June 2007

Wondered if any other women are having the same problem. Often I feel as though I have not completely emptied my bladder after peeing. I will go, stand up, wait a minute and then have to go a little bit more. Occasionally this would happen before having two kids, now it is more frequent. Other times I feel as though I can't go for an hour without having to pee, this is after drinking one 8 oz glass of water. Seems a little excessive to have to pee so often. Anon

start with your gyn to make sure you don't have any structural problems (somthing compressing the bladder). after that you may need to see a urologist about interstitial cystitis. oh, and endometriosis can cause these kind of symptoms as well. anon

This is lack of pelvic floor tone and is very common after having kids. You do not have to settle for this. There are exercises and if you have Kaiser, get your primary doctor to refer you to Zelda in PT in Richmond. Otherwise, look for pelvic floor therapy in whatever coverage you have. Or look up Lizanne Pastore in San Francisco if you want to pay privately. I had several issues - is contra-indicated the word when the fix for one makes the other one worse? Anyway, the issues were bad and when it got down to just the one you have it was a very simple matter with 5-10 minutes twice a day for a couple of months. Feel free to ask the moderator for my e-mail and I can tell you some of them over the phone or e-mail. Anon