Several Likely Reasons for Frequent Urination at Night

It’s normal to urinate once or twice a night. Anything more may be a problem that should be dealt with. Business stock/Shutterstock

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) suggests 3 types and 6 strategies to help improve it.

A good night’s sleep is the key to helping your body recover from daily exertion. However, frequent trips to the toilet at night will interrupt sleep and make people physically and mentally exhausted. Although nocturia is not a serious disease, it can worsen people’s quality of sleep and even endanger their health. Many people think that nocturia is typical of the elderly. But it is far from the fact, and young people may also suffer from it.

According to the definition of the International Continence Society (ICS), “nocturia” is the manifestation of “waking up due to a strong urge to urinate, interrupting the original sleep, and is considered abnormal when that occurs more than two times a night.”

Guo Yijie, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, recently said that the total amount of urine during sleep at night is about 0.25 to 0.33 of that during the day. After falling asleep, the body secretes an “antidiuretic hormone,” which reduces the amount of urine at night to facilitate a good night’s sleep. However, if the secretion is reduced for whatever reason, the amount and frequency of urination at night will increase, and sleep will be interrupted.

She said one or two times of nocturnal urination during an average sleep time of 7 to 8 hours is normal. If it is interrupted more than twice, and every time you wake up with a strong urge to urinate, it is considered a morbid state, and you need to find out the cause and deal with it.

Guo: There are Several Common Reasons for Frequent Nocturia

  1. Insufficient secretion of the antidiuretic hormone at night, enlarged prostate in elderly men so, squeezing the bladder and urethra, resulting in frequent urination as well as poor urination.
  2. Chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.
  3. Side effects from drug taking.
  4. Young people are often anxious and nervous, and frequent nocturia occurs if they drink too much water before going to bed or take stimulating beverages such as tea or coffee, sugar-sweetened beverages, and the like. Inflammation or infection are also possible reasons.

She said that from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the kidneys oversee the functions of the urinary system. However, due to the complexity of the human body, one symptom normally can hardly be attributed to just one single factor. Therefore, in addition to replenishing the kidney qi, other organs and their qi and blood need improvement, and meridian circulation may also need to be adjusted.

Guo Shared Three Common Types of Nocturia Treatment

  1.  Liver stagnation and blood deficiency type: symptoms manifest as waking up at night to urinate many times but not much urine output each time, often accompanied by emotional stress, dry skin, dry mouth, dry eyes, hard stools, and even feeling the effect of dryness and heat, and other symptoms.
  2. Spleen deficiency and dampness type: nocturia is frequent, but the urine volume is normal, about 200-300 cc (about 6.8 to 10 U.S. fluid ounces) each time, but accompanied by spleen and stomach symptoms, prone to flatulence, nausea, poor appetite, easy defecation, diarrhea, pale tongue and with a white and thick tongue coating. In this case, the condition of nocturia is aggravated after drinking cold beverages.
  3. Kidney qi deficiency type: apart from having a large amount of urine at night, at around 5  to 7 p.m. when the meridians meet the kidney meridian, frequent urination is apparent, and it is often accompanied by renal symptoms, such as soreness of the waist, the knees, lower back and muscles and bones, and the like. Tinnitus, dizziness, and easy fatigue are common symptoms of this type.

Guo Gave 6 Ways of Treatment That Might Help

  1. The amount and time of drinking water: the recommended amount of drinking water per day is 1500-2000 cc (about 3.2 to 4.2 pints); the amount can be increased. depending on the situation. However, the amount must be evenly distributed, preferred to be in frequent but smaller sips, never in one big quantity, and should be reduced three to four hours before going to bed.
  2. Limit certain beverage intake: reduce the chance of drinking stimulating beverages, such as tea, coffee, and sugary, ice-cold beverages.
  3. Eat fewer fruits: fruits contain a lot of water and sugar, and most of them are cold. Avoid taking too many citrus fruits in particular.
  4. More exercise and exposure to the sun: promotes relaxation and helps circulation, which can help improve yang qi and stabilize sleep at night.
  5. Compress on the lower abdomen around the private region with a warm towel: warm the lower abdomen, which will adjust and invigorate the kidney qi.
  6. Control chronic diseases: such as diabetes and hypertension, and take good care of prostatic hypertrophy and other problems.

Guo emphasized that people who have nocturnal urination problems should pay more attention to the above six points. If the effect after that is not up to expectation, it is recommended that you should consult a specialist TCM practitioner, who could then assess your condition and prescribe the most suitable medicine to help you improve the experience of frequent urination in the middle of the night.

Important Notice: This article was originally published at by David Chu and Harry McKenny where all credits are due. Medically reviewed by Adrienne Seitz, MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition


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