Are you always hitting the bathrooms every hour? It can feel excessive, and who wants to be that office goof who spends half the day on the toilet? The good news is peeing an abnormal amount does mean something, and with a few lifestyle tips and a diagnosis from a doctor, you can reduce that frequency and find some relief.
We discussed a few reasons why you might be peeing so much during the day with Robert Glatter, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwell Health Department of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. If you’re drinking tons of fluids and you don’t have any of the symptoms associated with the conditions below, you’re probably in the clear. (Especially coffee, as it’s a diuretic and can really make you go.)
You Have a UTI
A common symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is an overactive bladder, says Glatter. “It typically causes increased urinary frequency and urgency, along with burning or stinging, and mild lower abdominal discomfort.” When UTI symptoms spread to the back or flank, the kidney can be involved, causing you to rush to bathroom and feel some painful pangs down there.
Luckily, it’s short-lived and not a chronic condition. “A short course of antibiotics (three to five days) is the treatment for a bladder infection, while a kidney infection requires a visit to the ER for blood tests and IV antibiotics,” he says.
If you are stable enough to be discharged, then a 14-day course of antibiotics will fix you up. Though, in some cases, hospital admission is required, as long as there’s presence of high fever, vomiting, and the inability to eat and drink normally, which is often referred to as pyelonephritis. A tip? Pee before and after having sex, says Glatter, to avoid getting a UTI. “Also, make sure your anal and genital areas are clean before and after sex to reduce the buildup of bacteria,” he adds.
You Have an Overactive Bladder
Bad news here: this one is a chronic condition you can’t really get rid of, though you can find some relief. The worst part is, you may miss some serious sleep, too. “OAB is characterized by sudden and intense urges to urinate, which can occur at any point in the day, but are especially bothersome at nighttime,” says Glatter.
There are two types of overactive bladders: dry and wet. “In the dry form, you have the sudden and urgent need to urinate many times a day. In the wet form, you also have the intense urge to urinate, but your bladder also leaks, referred to as urge incontinence,” he explains. Yikes. If you have other conditions, it might be especially prevalent. “While OAB can occur without any underlying health condition, it may also occur in patients who have sustained nerve damage to the bladder in the setting of diabetes, Parkinson’s, MS, or after a stroke or pelvic or back surgery,” Glatter says.
A few ways to manage symptoms? Try kegel exercises. Kegel exercises will strengthen the pelvic floor and urinary sphincter and can show promising results within four to eight weeks, he says. (Here’s a guide to doing kegel exercises the right way.) Additionally, cut back on the sips of water at night for fewer trips to the bathroom. You might want to maintain a healthy weight and avoid particular foods or beverages that can exacerbate your symptoms as well. “This may include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, citrus juice, apples, cranberries, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, tomatoes, and vinegar,” he adds.
You Have Interstitial Cystitis
“Interstitial cystitis causes pain in the bladder along with the need to urinate frequently and urgently, sometimes up to 50 times per day,” says Glatter. Yet, it’s not easy to diagnose. “Patients may go through multiple tests to determine other potential causes to explain their symptoms, but to no avail,” he says. Luckily, once you know you have it, there are a number of approaches to reduce the associated pain and inflammation, including medications, electrical nerve stimulation, bladder exercises and training, and physical therapy, as well as surgical approaches to evaluate for structural causes for continued and unexplained pain, in rare cases, Glatter adds.
It’s common to pee more often when pregnant, as you’re likely to feel the urge to urinate pick up throughout the day. “This is related to a combination of hormonal changes, but also increased pressure from organs on the bladder, compressing it, which leads to a smaller bladder volume,” says Glatter. What’s more, bladder infections or UTIs are typically more common during pregnancy, he says, and those can also be associated with the extra bathroom runs.