Frequent urination, sometimes known as overactive bladder (OAB), is a problem believed to affect between 7% and 27% of men, with many studies averaging around 15%. While most people with frequent urination can partially control it, there are situations where men can entirely lose control of their bladders and urinate whether they want to or not. This is known as urge incontinence.
Most people experience it primarily during the day, but there are cases where people experience frequent urination at night as well.
What is Frequent Urination?
Frequent urination is the need to relieve yourself eight or more times per day, with many people needing to relieve themselves as often as once an hour while awake. Most people who experience this problem have it for several years, though studies have suggested that as many as 39% will see the symptoms vanish within one year.
It's important to note that there is some variance in the diagnosis. For example, a person who exercises a significant amount each day and is constantly drinking water may need to urinate more frequently than most people, but this is merely a part of their lifestyle rather than a genuine medical problem.
OAB is not life-threatening, and generally not permanent. There is no evidence that it is contagious.
Causes of Frequent Urination in Men
The primary cause(s) of frequent urination is unknown. However, there is one thing that most researchers agree on when studying what causes frequent urination. Namely, frequent urination becomes more common with age. It's thought that the weakening of certain muscles may be partially responsible for this condition.
Diagnosis of Excessive Urination
OAB is diagnosed by observing the symptoms after other potential causes have been ruled out.
Other potential causes of excessive urination include viral infection, a reaction to certain medications, injury to the bladder area, bladder cancer, and excessive consumption of liquids.
Treatment of Frequent Urination in Men
There are several methods that doctors use to treat frequent urination. The most notable of these is lifestyle management. You may be asked to:
- Restrict the amount of fluid you consume
- Avoid caffeine
- Retrain your bladder
- Perform Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) exercises
- Attempt to void yourself on a set schedule
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also suggest medication. These typically include antimuscarinic pills and adrenergic receptor agonists. Most doctors do not recommend medication right away since the majority of drugs are no more effective than lifestyle adjustments and come with the risk of side effects.
It's important to note that these treatment options rarely solve the problem. Medication, for example, may only reduce the number of times you urinate each day by two or three. Instead, these treatments are focused mainly on reducing the impact of the symptoms until the body can heal on its own.
Surgical intervention is rare and typically used only as a last resort. In these cases, doctors may inject Botox, enlarge the bladder, or use electrical stimulation.
When to See A Doctor
If you think you have frequent urination, the first thing you should do is begin measuring your symptoms. Find a diary and start keeping track of how often you feel the urge to void yourself and how frequently you actually do. Record this for several days.
If you find that you're relieving yourself seven or fewer times per-day – and you aren't drinking excessively – then you're probably not suffering from OAB.
On the other hand, if you're recording eight or more incidents per day for several days in a row, then you may have an overactive bladder. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and continue to record the times of your urges until you can get in to see them. This will help your doctor diagnose the problem.
If you experience pain while urinating, you may have an infection or another serious issue. In this case, contact your doctor immediately. Painful urination is not a normal part of OAB, and you should not delay seeking treatment.
Prevent Frequent Urination in Men
Since the cause of frequent urination is mostly unknown, there isn't much that can be done to prevent it. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you should try to avoid straining your bladder. Rather than holding it in until you're done with something, you should try to relieve yourself before the pressure gets too intense.
Next, you should try to consume a healthy amount of liquid each day, based on your lifestyle needs. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult male should have about 15.5 cups of liquid (or 3.7 liters) per day. Fluid needs do vary, though – if you feel you're having too much or too little to drink, adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
Finally, try to maintain a healthy weight and exercise on a regular basis. People who are fit tend to have fewer health problems than those who aren't.
There is no guarantee that the methods described above will prevent frequent urination, but based on the knowledge we have, they may help.