When a baby cries, a caring parent will anxiously try to determine the cause. Whether their newborn is hungry, tired, or due for a diaper change, the cry sounds the same. Just like a crying baby, there are many reasons why men may have the need to empty their bladder too frequently. This symptom is most bothersome when it interferes with a good night’s sleep.
Not only is adequate sleep important to your health, but multiple nighttime trips to the bathroom can be a sign of a more serious health condition. The urge to urinate is a balance of stimulation versus distraction. When engaging in a social or work activity, you are less likely to notice this urge. Sleep is the ultimate distraction.
So, why would your bladder awaken you during your slumber? Here are the five main reasons:
An enlarged prostate. When your prostate grows, it partially blocks the flow from your bladder. When your bladder needs to squeeze harder, it wants to empty smaller amounts (more frequently). See your primary care physician or urologist to be evaluated for this condition.
Redistribution. By the end of the day, a lot of the fluid consumed during the day will accumulate in your lower body. When you lie down to sleep, that fluid returns to your kidneys. If you put your feet up prior to going to bed, you may encourage this fluid to exit on your last trip to the bathroom during waking hours.
Too much fluid. Although hydration is important, you should limit your fluid intake in the 2-3 hours preceding bedtime (especially caffeine and alcohol).
An overactive bladder. You may have a bladder with too much “muscle tone.” As a result, your bladder will not want to hold as much. If this is the cause, you would also urinate often during the day. A simple pill may be the answer.
Poor conservation. Your body was designed to conserve fluid at night to ensure adequate sleep and hydration. Occasionally, your body may not make enough of the chemical responsible for this conservation. If the total volume (not number of trips) of urine you produce at night is similar to daytime, you should see your physician for evaluation.
Too many nightly trips to the bathroom can also signal some other serious health conditions, such as diabetes and sleep apnea. If you have more than one trip to the bathroom at night, seek medical advice so that you can have the bladder of your dreams. Look for my article, “The Best Resolutions for Men’s Health,” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA, is Wellstar’s Medical Director of Urology and of Robotic Surgery. He has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years and sees patients at Wellstar Urology in Roswell, Wellstar North Fulton Hospital and Wellstar Avalon Health Park. Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA • Wellstar North Fulton Hospital • 470.956.4230 • www.scottdmillermd.com