Feel like you have to head to the bathroom more than everyone else and wondering: what’s considered frequent urination? So many women (and men!) have questions about what’s normal when it comes to pee. We’re here to flush out misconceptions and give answers.
How many bathroom trips are too many? What’s “normal” and what’s considered frequent urination
The truth is: your bathroom habits don’t have to be just like anyone else’s to be normal. That’s because what’s normal for your body is perfectly okay for you. On average, people go pee about 4 to 8 times a day. Many sources say that going more than 8 times a day is considered too many. However, we disagree. It’s not uncommon or an issue to go as many 10 times a day. (Though there are exceptions.) In fact, more important than the number of trips you take to the restroom, is whether or not it’s interfering with your everyday life or ability to sleep through the night.
What are some causes of frequent urination?
If your bathroom habits have changed significantly or are disruptive, it’s time to look into causes and reasons and talk to your physician. Sometimes, frequent urination can be explained and solved by adjusting lifestyle habits. For example, you may be drinking too much caffeine or drinks with artificial sweeteners. Or, you might be having a glass of wine right before bed. Blood pressure medication can also be to blame and adjusting when you take your dose can help.
There can also be other easily identified reasons behind lots of bathroom trips. Pregnancy can lead to the need to go pee more often in women. For men, prostate issues (enlarged or hyperplasia) can cause this too. Other conditions that are commonly associated with frequent urination include overactive bladder syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and kidney issues. Diabetes, urinary tract infections, and excessive calcium levels can all make you go pee more. So can undergoing cancer treatment.
However, there are other conditions that also cause frequent urination. But they’re far more likely to be overlooked for a number of reasons. Some of them include:
- hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease)
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- pelvic muscle weakness or other pelvic disorders
- anterior prolapse
- vaginitis (which includes bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and the sexually transmitted infection trichomoniasis)
- low estrogen, whether from perimenopause, menopause, or another cause
- high progesterone (seen in pregnancy but also can be seen in too high of doses of hormone replacement)
- polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS
- stress and anxiety
How dehydration makes you have to go pee more
We tend to first associate hydration with what’s considered more frequent urination. Staying hydrated is incredibly important. If you’re getting about 8 cups of water a day, that’s great. Your pee can help you see how hydrated you are. In the morning, it’s common to have darker urine. (This is because you haven’t hydrated all night.) But during the day, the color should be light yellow and almost clear.
In some cases, frequent urination can also be a result of dehydration. Some clues you aren’t hydrated enough? First of all, your urine is darker. It might also consistently look foamy or frothy. The reason urine looks darker when you’re dehydrated is pretty simple. It has less water in it and a higher concentration of other components. Some of these are: urea (which includes toxic ammonia), sodium, chloride, and more. These other components in urine can cause the lining of your bladder to become irritated or inflamed. When this happens, you’ll need to go more often.
Can lifestyle changes help frequent urination?
If you feel the need to use the bathroom everywhere or your sleep is consistently getting interrupted during the night, it’s time to first look at your habits. A few to think about are:
- Am I drinking a lot of sugar-filled drinks, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, seltzer, or caffeine? All can make you have to use the bathroom more often, and focusing on plain water can help you go longer between trips to the toilet.
- Do any of my medications have a diuretic effect? Altering when you take your dose may help, but you’ll want to run this by your provider.
- Am I consuming a lot of citrus? Reducing the amount of citrus and tomatoes you eat can be helpful with frequent urination and incontinence. These foods have a lot of citric acid, which can make it harder to control your bladder.
- Do I have any pain when I pee or blood in my urine? You might have an infection and need to call your physician. There are over-the-counter products that can help, too, like Uristat and AZO. But they aren’t a substitute for a checkup.
- How does my urine look? Is it light and nearly clear or is it dark and amber-colored? This will give you clues on how well you’re hydrated and if your frequent urination could be from dehydration.
When to talk to your physician
Even though it can be normal to go 10 times a day, there are instances when it’s not. Pay attention to signs that your frequency of urination is related to something going on in your body. You might be dealing with overactive bladder syndrome, or OAB. If so, there are treatments and natural solutions that can help. Here are some other reasons to talk to your physician:
- If your bathroom habits are disruptive and reducing your quality of life.
- Feeling the urge to go to the bathroom often and your bladder never feels “empty” afterwards.
- Pain when urinating or blood in your urine.
- Any leakage or incontinence. Nearly 25 million Americans have an issue with urinary incontinence. Approximately 75% of them are women.
- If you are dealing with any type of pelvic symptoms or pain, including peeing a lot.
- Going pee a lot but hardly any seems to come out. This can be a sign of a UTI (urinary tract infection) or other infection.
- You’ve eliminated things like alcohol in the evening, but you’re still having to wake up a couple of times a night.
- Needing to push to go pee. Your body should relax to urinate; you shouldn’t have to actively use your muscles to get it out. In women, having to force out urine could be due to weak pelvic muscles, prolapse. Much less commonly, it is from bladder outlet obstruction. In men, it’s usually due to bladder outlet obstruction.
Help for frequent urination
Having to go the bathroom a lot can feel embarrassing–and so can bringing up the topic with your doctor. But talking with your provider is usually the first step to healing. They can help you identify what’s considered frequent urination for you and offer more help with lifestyle changes. The good news: once the cause has been figured out, there are treatments that can get you back on a better schedule.