Nov 21, 2012

Why do we urinate so much at night?

Bill of Spring Lake Township asked, "Why to people need to urinate so much at night?"

Bill also said his doctor told him the reason is that gravity holds water in the lower part of the body when you are standing. So, when you lie down and the lower body seeks level with your kidneys, the kidneys remove the water.

Is that true? Let's do a little research and find out.

An article on the Mother Nature Network explains the need to pee at night may have more to do with your family than how much you drank before hitting the sheets. It says our internal sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is influenced by our genes.

Some Japanese researchers discovered this reason, as well as a protein called Cx43, which is found in bladder muscle cells and largely controlled by our genes. The Mother Nature Net article says the protein can determine how much urine your bladder can hold and how often you have to urinate.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a frequent need to get up and "go" at night is called nocturia. Nocturia is different from bed-wetting, in which the person does not wake up but the bladder empties anyway.

Nocturia is a common cause of sleep loss, according to the foundation, especially among older adults. In fact, two-thirds of those responding to the foundation's 2003 Sleep in America poll of adults ages 55-84 reported this disturbance at least a few nights each week.

Most people without nocturia can sleep for up to eight hours without having to urinate. Patients with severe nocturia may get up five or six times during the night for relief.

"Nocturia is often a symptom of other medical conditions — including urological infection, a tumor of the bladder or prostate, a condition called bladder prolapse, or disorders affecting sphincter control," the foundation states on its website. "It is also common in people with heart failure, liver failure, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, or diabetes insipidus. Diabetes, pregnancy and diuretic medications are also associated with nocturia."

And yes, it is true that nocturia becomes more common as we get older. Hormones are involved here.

"As we get older, our bodies produce less of an anti-diuretic hormone that enables us to retain fluid," the National Sleep Foundation explains. "With decreased concentrations of this hormone, we produce more urine at night. Another reason for nocturia among the elderly is that the bladder tends to lose holding capacity as we age. Finally, older people are more likely to suffer from medical problems that may have an effect on the bladder."

To read more about frequent urination at night, the symptoms, treatment and other coping methods, visit the foundation's website by clicking here.

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Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to news@grandhaventribune.com, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on grandhaventribune.com at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Comments

Wolverine49457

It could be several things, undiagnosed Diabetes, overactive bladder, too much caffeine or liquid in the hours before bed time…stop drinking in the hours just before bedtime and if that does it you were simply drinking too much, in the meantime schedule a visit with your doctor.

 

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