Frequent Urination (Men, Women) – Causes and Symptoms

Urinary frequency refers to the frequent passing of urine, more than what is the norm for a person. Most of us pass urine anywhere between 3 to 6 times a day, sometimes more frequently. A sudden increase in the number of times you pass urine, especially if you have to wake up at night to urinate is known as urinary frequency. It is a sign of some underlying problem that needs to be treated in order for your urinating habits to return to normal.

Causes of Frequent Urination

There are a number of causes, either localised to the urinary system or due to other diseases (systemic) that may result in frequent urination. Some of the causes affecting both men and women include :

  • Anxiety, depression
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs), including certain sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)
  • Medication like diuretics for hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Drinks like tea, coffee, alcohol
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Insomnia, sleep apnea
  • Incontinence
  • Injury to the brain or spine
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Overactive bladder syndrome
  • Cancer of the bladder or kidney

Urinary Frequency in Men

Frequent urination in men is most often due to the prostate gland. Inflammation or infection (prostatitis), age related enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer often causes frequent urination along with other symptoms like straining, burning or pain upon urination, dribbling and incontinence. Urethral constriction is more common in men than women and is a narrowing of the urethra due to injury (like the insertion of a catheter) or sexually transmitted infections.

Urinary Frequency in Women

Pregnancy is the most common cause of urinary frequency in women if the other causes listed above have been excluded. The expanding uterus presses on the bladder and causes constant urging. Other gynaecological conditions like inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis), endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease may also cause urinary frequency.

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Frequency

Differentiating between urinary frequency that is normal and that which is related to other disorders (pathological) can be difficult. If you drink large amounts of water or other fluids, then it is likely that you will urinate more frequently. Consuming drinks that contain caffeine (tea, coffee and certain soft drinks) and alcohol are also more likely to cause you to pass urine frequently.

However, certain signs and symptoms should alert you to a potential problem associated with frequent urination. This includes :

  • Waking up at night to urinate (nocturia)
  • Burning or pain upon urinating (dysuria)
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria), discoloured urine or cloudy urine
  • Constant urging to urinate even after passing out urine (tenesmus)
  • Soiling yourself by involuntary passing of urine (incontinence)
  • Pain in the pelvis

Normally a person passes out 1 to 2 liters of urine. With urinary frequency, the amount of urine you pass out in the day is normal or even low. If you are passing out more than 3 liters of urine in a day, then this is known as polyuria and may be due to other diseases.

There are a number of other causes of frequent urination which need to be investigated by a doctor. If the symptoms are still persisting despite medical treatment,  you should consult with a urologist who is a medical specialist dealing with genitourinary conditions in both men and women.