A bedroom marred by nocturia

Nocturia Causes

Normally, when a person goes to sleep the body makes urine more concentrated. Waste can still be expelled at its normal rate, but there is more of it in the same amount of liquid. This way, you can sleep for long stretches of time without having to urinate.

Polyuria refers to passing more urine than normal; nocturia (nocturnal polyuria) is when this excess urine is produced at night. In general, the medical community views nocturia not as a condition, but as a symptom of other conditions or issues. Here is a look at those causes. 

Root Causes

There are several root causes that could be at the bottom of your nocturia problems: 

  • Excessive urine produced throughout the day
  • Excessive urine produced only at night
  • Low bladder capacity 
  • Excessive urine production combined with a low bladder capacity
  • Frequent episodes of waking during sleep that prompt habitual urination 

Fluid Intake and Medication

Even if you don’t drink a lot of fluid all day long, drinking a lot right before going to sleep can also result in nocturia—alcohol and caffeinated beverages tend to be especially problematic.

Certain medications may also induce the body to create more urine than normal. Diuretics, for example, are designed specifically to encourage the body to shed excess water through urine. If you are prescribed a diuretic, expect to urinate more than normal. According to the Cleveland Clinic, other medications or supplements that may cause nocturia are “cardiac glycosides, demeclocycline, lithium, methoxyflurane, phenytoin, propoxyphene, and excessive vitamin D.”

Underlying Disorders

There are several conditions that may contribute to the development of nocturia. Sleeping disorders, perhaps unsurprisingly, are one of these. Gestational diabetes and diabetes, types 1 and 2, are another common cause of nocturia. Diabetes insipidus, a condition in which the body has difficulty regulating fluids rather than blood sugar, can also result in nocturia.

When the legs are swollen (edema), you may find that nocturia is a problem; so too can congestive heart failure, renal failure, hypercalcaemia, and neurological conditions result in this issue. Diseases in which fluid balance or bladder control are disrupted are the most likely to result in nocturia 

Low Bladder Capacity

If nocturia is the result of low bladder capacity, this may because of a different type of dysfunction that may also occur during the day. Often the issue is simply less noticeable during waking hours, because the need to urinate is less disruptive when you’re conscious.

Infection, swelling, obstruction, pain, and growths in or cancer of the bladder may all make it more difficult to hold the normal amount of fluid. Temporary disruptions, like pregnancy, may also contribute to nocturia. Nocturia is common in both genders and is often easiest to manage once the underlying issue is diagnosed or treated. 

Last Updated: July 26, 2016