Berkeley Parents Network >
The Potty >
Questions about Adults
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
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!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
thanks for the suggestions
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.
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
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 icnetwork.com 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
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.
She should see her gynecologist. There are many treatment options for
overactive bladder - medications, biofeedback, the dietary changes you
No need to suffer unnecessarily
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.
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.
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.
Questions about Kids
My almost 5 year old is peeing every 5-10 minutes. This
started a few weeks ago when I noticed he was peeing every 1/2
hour or so. Since then the frequency has increased.I have
reviewed similar post on this subject from 2004, but am looking
for more feedback then that post got. We have taken him to the
doctor. He does not have a urinary tract infection and this is
not from diabetes. The doctor believes he has meatal stenosis.
Which is a narrowing (stenosis) of the opening of the urethra
at the external meatus. This constricts the opening through
which urine flows out. The doctor has suggested a wait see
approach and to do clear water baths to see if it goes away on
it's own. If not,surgury is required. We love out doc and
trust his advice. I would like to hear from other people with
this experience. Did it go away? Was surgery successful?
There are some articles saying that frequent urination can be
psychological. Has anyone experienced this? Any feedback will
be helpful. Thanks.
Our four year old son does the same thing, often peeing every
ten minutes. After serious consideration of the issue, I've
come to the conclusion that he's a stark raving lunatic. Like
all other children of his age. It comes and goes on a weekly
basis--sometimes he forgets that he needs to pee so much, and
sometimes he moons around dramatically bemoaning his sensitive
bladder and the fact that it prevents him from ever being able
to leave the house. I've decided to treat the condition with
benign neglect and gentle mockery, which seems to be working
quite well. Good luck; and tell him not to flush every time--
there's a water crisis on!
Missed the original post but my 5 yo daughter had this recently.
I researched it and apparently it is common in this age and is
caused by mild anxiety. My daughter's was triggered by telling
her I was going away for the weekend. It lasted on and off for
months but reading your post I realized it had subsided! I'm
hoping starting K soon doesn't bring it back. The only strategy I
used was being as reassuring as possible and trying not to make a
big deal out of it (hard to do when she was getting up 7 times in
a row at bed time).
this too shall pass
About 2 weeks ago, my 6 1/2 year old daughter started urinating
frequently, at least once an hour (and I hear it's about every
1/2 hour at school). Our pediatrician advised me not to worry,
that some kids do this as a nervous habit. We've ruled out
diabetes as a concern, as she's overall very healthy and we
know that each trip results in very little pee. Any experience
with this or ideas on what could be causing it? She's
generally an anxious kid, otherwise there's no major stress or
upheaval in our lives.
many trips to the bathroom
Hi -- my daughter started doing the same thing at a similar age.
While I don't consider her an anxious child, she is an intense
child and feels EVERYTHING acutely. You pediatrician is right --
it will go away, but it is disturbing while you are going through
it, especially when we would be out and had to find every
bathroom everywhere. After a period of time, when she had to go
20 or 30 minutes after the last trip, I would say, ''We will be
home shortly; we're on our way.'' At first, she would panic and
yell, ''I REALLY have to go!!'' and I would very calmly say, ''If
you can't hold it, don't worry, honey, just do your best. There
is no potty right here.'' I tried not to say it with anger or
panic, just calm. She never had an accident, and this was after I
was sure that this was just a habit. I honestly think that as
soon as she felt any filling of her bladder, she perceived it as
really having to go. She is 10 now, and just fine! Good luck,
stay calm, and she will too.
sign me Potty Smart
You are smart to notice the connection between anxiety and
frequent peeing. My friend's son did this around age 5. The
best thing to do is COMPLETELY IGNORE the peeing. Just stop
saying anything about it. It will probably stop within a week or
two. P.S. You can look it up online, there is even a name for
it. Good luck!
I would be worried about a urinary tract infection or pin worm.
If you have ruled those out, I agree with the advice you've be
given. Frequent urination can lead to a smaller bladder size.
The bladder re-models over a period of time if it is only
carrying a tiny capacity all the time. So I'd check into these
other things and then if negative start behavior modification
trying to go with timed voids no frequent than every 2 hours.
Also, avoid bubble baths, make sure she is wiping front to back,
etc. These are suggestions, I don't know your daughter and any
more than you've mentioned in your e-mail. Good luck.
Elaine L. Pico, MD, FAAP, FAAPM & R
When I get nervous I have to pee alot.
Perhaps what you might want to consider is talking with her about her
and encourage her and praise her when she is taking courageous things.
some books on how to help her be less anxious. Also, ask yourselves if
anxious people because she could pick up on your emotions and act them
sounds like just an opportunity to help your daughter to relax more.
Nanny in the know
Check for diabetes. This is one of the first symptom.
my 4.5 y.o. son seems to pee constantly. He runs back and forth
to the toilet sometimes 10 times in an hour. each time he pees
only a little bit. Or he stands for a moment untill the pee
finally comes out, only a couple drops. This seems to really
frustrate him. He also does this when we are out, frequently
needing to stop on walks and pee in the bushes. We are having
his urine tested for diabetes and for a bladder infection, so I
have two questions: 1. is there anything else medical we could
be looking for? and 2. is this behavioral? Does anyone have
experience with this, and if it is behavioral, do we just wait
it out? Could he just be impatient and not want to wait untill
all the pee comes out? though to me that suggests a lot of
control if he can stop mid stream.... Any advice, medical or
anecdotal, would be appreciated. Thanks!
Another problem that could perhaps cause behavior like that you
describe is vesico-ureteral reflux, in which urine backs up from
the bladder into the ureters and even the kidneys. My son had it
diagnosed while he was still in utero. It's worth asking whether
it is a possibility in your son's case, because a bad case,
untreated, can cause permanent harm to the kidneys, or even
destroy them both. Even if your son turns out to have a bladder
infection, and especially if it recurs, you should ask about
whether he might have reflux. It is a cause of urinary tract
infections, especially in boys, in whom they are otherwise quite
My daughter also went through a spell of frequent urination at about
age 3.5. She tested negative! for a urinary tract infection. The
doctor said that children sometimes get fixated on the need to pee
often. He said that if you just think about going hard enough, it's
difficult not to have to go. He predicted it would pass after a while
and it did. I just didn't draw any attention to her behavior and made
it easy for her to go outside as needed. It took a couple of months
for the frequency to return to normal. Hope your situation is as
Since Kindergarten began my six year old has developed a
"nervous bladder". Physically he's fine.....we had his blood
and urine tested and the doctors say eventually it will go
away and that it's not that uncommon. So far it hasn't
interferred too much with playdates although he's running in
to pee every 15-20 minutes. The good news is that he sleeps
right through the night...10 hours...without having to go.
We're not making a deal of it however I'd like to know if others
have gone through this and what we can do to encourage or help
our daughter has the same problem. seems to be an issue when she
is anxious. our doctor advised us to let it run its course and it
seems, once she is back in a "comfortable place", it goes away.
this page was last updated: Sep 22, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network