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Frequent or urgent urination

Urgent urination; Urinary frequency or urgency; Urgency-frequency syndrome; Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome; Urge syndrome

Frequent urination means needing to urinate more often than usual. Urgent urination is a sudden, strong need to urinate. This causes a discomfort in your bladder. Urgent urination makes it difficult to delay using the toilet.

A frequent need to urinate at night is called nocturia. Most people can sleep for 6 to 8 hours without having to urinate.

Images

Female urinary tract
Male urinary tract

Causes

Common causes of these symptoms are:

Less common causes include:

Home Care

Follow the advice of your health care provider to treat the cause of the problem.

It may help to write down the times when you urinate and the amount of urine you produce. Bring this record to your visit with the provider. This is called a voiding diary.

In some cases, you may have problems controlling urine (incontinence) for a period of time. You may need to take steps to protect your clothing and bedding.

For nighttime urination, avoid drinking too much fluid before going to bed. Cut down on the amount of liquids you drink that contain alcohol or caffeine.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider right away if:

Also call your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will take a medical history and do a physical exam.

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment depends on the cause of the urgency and frequency. You may need to take antibiotics and medicine to ease your discomfort.

Related Information

Urinating more at night

References

Conway B, Phelan PJ, Stewart GD. Nephrology and urology. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 15.

Rane A, Kulkarni M, Iyer J. Prolapse and disorders of the urinary tract. In: Symonds I, Arulkumaran S, eds. Essential Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 21.

Reynolds WS, Cohn JA. Overactive bladder. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 117.

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Review Date: 4/26/2020  

Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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