Urination is a common biological phenomenon. You probably wouldn’t have given it much though until you got an urination related problem. It is at this point that you start to thinking how often should you urinate, or is it okay to urinate frequently at night? or what is urinary bladder infection, etc. This article provides all the information you need to know about urination in human beings.
What Is Urine?
Urine is a biological waste product that the kidneys filter out in a liquid form. The kidneys filter your blood constantly to remove toxins from it. This fluid is sent from the kidney to the bladder through two small tubes called as ureters. When the bladder is filled with urine, the body gets the urge to release it out. A small valve is present at the base of the bladder. This valve is called urinary sphincter, and it remains shut usually. Only when you want to release the urine, this valve relaxes, making way for you to allow the urine out. The urine comes out of the body through a tube known as urethra.
What Is Your Urinary Bladder’s Capacity?
The capacity of your urinary bladder depends on your age. The older you become, the smaller your urinary bladder gets. When you are 30 years old, your bladder can hold 500 to 600 ml; and when you are 80, it can hold about 300 ml. Another factor that determines your bladder capacity is your height. A person who is 5 ft tall will have a smaller bladder than someone who is 5.5 ft tall.
What Color Should Your Urine Be?
Human urine can be in various shades. The hue of your urine shows the degree of your body’s good health. A clear yellow color of the urine indicates that a person is in good health; while a darker shade indicates that the person is dehydrated. Taking multi vitamin tablets or consuming beetroots can have an effect on the color of your urine. But that doesn’t matter as it is only the pigmentation in these substances that has had an effect on your urine’s color.
Does The Duration Matter?
Yes, it does. It is advisable to hold your urine until you get the urge to release it out; the “just in case” idea doesn’t work well here. Your bladder should be provided with the training to hold urine to its maximum capacity. Emptying it often when it has not filled will only make it shrink, and with time, you will not be able to hold your urine for longer hours. Therefore, it is advised that you stretch your bladder up to its maximum holding capacity.
However, holding your urine too late is also not good. This is because having your urine in your bladder for a long while can result in UTI (Urinary Tract Infection).
When should you fix an appointment with your doctors?
Mostly adults pass out their urine 8 times daily. However, if you need to urine 20 times or even more, the condition is quite serious. Two different conditions of your bladder cause frequent urination. These are the interstitial cystitis (IC) and overactive bladder (OAB). Medical treatments for both these conditions are available.
It is time for you to take an appointment if:
- Frequent urination during the day time – You are urinating more than 8 hours during the day
- Frequent urination at night – You are waking up to urinate 2 or more times during your sleeping hours.
What Causes Frequent Urination?
Different conditions such as pregnancy, anxiety, UTI, certain medications, diabetes, enlarged prostate, etc may cause frequent urination. In certain cases, frequent urination may be nothing more than a habit. As mentioned earlier, two medications conditions namely IC and OAB. Both these bladder conditions lead to frequent urination during day and night, and are accompanied by sudden strong urinary urgencies. Nevertheless, they can be differentiated.
- There is bladder pain accompanied with IC, but not with OAB. As the bladder fills, the pain increases, and eases upon emptying. Those who experience this symptom may urinate as high as 60 times a day, if untreated.
- Urine leaks are associated with OAB, but not with IC. Those who experience this condition often do not make it to the toilet in time, causing embarrassing moments.
If you suspect any of the above-mentioned conditions, visit your doctor immediately. He may conduct a few tests to confirm your condition. Diagnosis is important for treatment.
Medications For Frequent Urination
It is found that those who take the right kind of medication for treating IOB find good success. But people sometimes don’t visit a doctor for getting treatment for this. There are yet people who take the medication, but leave it half way before realizing the benefits from it. The common reason being the inability of these drugs to offer complete a solution. Oft times, the medication may decrease the extreme and sudden urges, or the urine leaks. Some complain of the side effects such as constipation, dry eyes, and dry mouth accompanied with these medications.
An effective solution can be obtained by a perfect combination of medication with non-drug treatments such as regular pelvic muscle exercises and scheduled bathroom breaks. Another thing is to try a different medication in case the prescribed medication doesn’t produce desirable results. Antimuscarinics/Anticholingerics are the first choice medications prescribed for the treatment of OAB as they relax the bladder’s smooth muscle. A list of these oral medications is given below:
- Darifenacin (Enablex)
- Oxybutynin (Ditropan, Ditropan XL, Oxytrol, Gelnique)
- Solifenacin (Vesicare)
- Trospium (Sanctura, Sanctura LA)
- Tolterodine(Detrol, Detrol LA)
These medications are often accompanied with side effects such as dry mouth, dry eyes, constipation, trouble in emptying the bladder, and blurred vision. When the antimuscarinics do not work, there are certain other medicines prescribed for OAB. These include:
- Botulinum toxin
What And What Not To Eat For OAB And IC?
Some foods and drinks should not be consumed by people, who are suffering from OAB, as it will only aggravate the condition. Foods such as wine, milk, artificially sweetened drinks, citrus fruits and juices, caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, carbonated beverages, highly spiced foods, honey, corn syrup, and tomatoes are the common culprits.
Eating too much of high calorie foods should also be avoided as gaining body weight can worsen the symptoms of OAB. So, go for foods that are low in calorie and are rich in nutrients. Such foods are vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean meats, fish, low-fat milk, fat-free milk, and poultry.
Drinking too much fluid enhances your urination frequency; while drinking too less leads to dark yellow, concentrated, strong-odor urine. Concentrated urine promotes bacterial growth and irritates your urinary bladder. So, take about 8 glasses of water a day. Fruit juices such as cherry, grape, cranberry, apple also suit your bladder, as they do not irritate it.
Fiber-rich foods also should be consumed daily by those suffering from OAB as constipation will worsen the condition. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain good quantity of fiber. Besides, your protein intake should also be limited. This is because, after your body metabolizes the protein, nitrogen is excreted as a waste product. The more the protein you consume, the more the nitrogen waste. This waste nitrogen needs lots of water to be washed out, which in turn would make you drink more water, and thereby, increase your urination frequency.
In case of IC, though there is no scientific evidence, doctors believe that certain foods such as spices, chocolate, alcohol, citrus beverages, caffeinated beverages, carbonated beverages, vitamin C supplements, tomatoes, citrus fruits, cranberries, vinegar, grapes, strawberries, guava, pineapple, wine, mango, beer, canned figs, artificial sweeteners, cheese, yogurt, nuts, soy sauce, raisins, chicken liver, sour cream, corned beef, avocados, fava beans, and brewers’ yeast can cause bladder inflammation and irritation, and thus further aggravate the problem. So, patients are advised to eliminate these from their diet. Certain other life style modifications such as quitting smoking, regular exercising, and bladder training are also known to help reduce the symptoms of IC.
Urinary Tract Infection
Apart from the urinary bladder conditions discussed earlier, UTI can also lead to frequent urination. UTI is characterized by intense urinating urges, and excreting a little quantity of urine accompanied by a painful, burning sensation or pressure somewhere near the pubic bone. The causative agent of urinary tract infection is bacteria. This infection causes irritation and inflammation to your bladder. This in turn results in spasms of the bladder muscle, which leads to further irritation. Moreover, a burning sensation also results due to the inflammation of the lining of the bladder and urethra. In some cases, the person suffering from UTI experiences a burning sensation and pain all the time, but the pain increases while urinating. The severity of the infection determines the worseness of the symptoms. Never leave UTI untreated, as in due course of time it may lead to kidney infection.
Treatment for UTI is usually a course of antibiotic from your doctor to fight against the bacterial agent. The type of antibiotic and the duration of antibiotic intake depend on the type of bacteria, which the doctor determines by culturing your urine. Your doctor may also prescribe some anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease the inflammation, and aid in stopping the urge to urinate frequently. You may also be given an alkaline solution in order to neutralize the acidic pH of your urine, which promotes the growth, and proliferation of the bacteria. When you are having UTI, you need to temporarily stop consuming alcohol and caffeine. Further, drink plenty of water in order to dilute your urine.
Frequent Urination During Pregnancy
Urination frequency increases during pregnancy. In fact, this is one of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. You start going to the toilet often from about the sixth week of your pregnancy. This is because, soon after you get pregnant, the hormonal changes in your body makes blood to flow faster than before through your kidneys. This results in filling up your bladder more frequently.
Moreover, as the days pass, the amount of blood in your body keeps on increasing until you have about 50% more blood than in your pre-pregnancy state. Because of this, more fluids is processed through your kidneys, and find their way to your bladder. Further, when your growing uterus enhances its pressure on your bladder, the issue gets even bigger. This gets more acute when your childbirth time nears, as the baby’s head gets fixed at the mouth of the uterus, which further intensifies the pressure on the bladder.
You can reduce your frequent urination during pregnancy by cutting off on coffee, tea, and alcohol. While peeing, lean forward so that you completely empty your bladder during urination. Never take any attempt to reduce your fluid intake, as this will adversely affect both your health and your fetus’ by dehydrating you. This frequent urination problem will ease on its own when you have delivered your baby. But if the frequent urination is accompanied by a burning sensation or pain, or if an intense urge for urinating is followed just by a trickle of urine, you may be having UTI. So, contact your doctor immediately.