Nocturia

Do you have to get up in the night to go to the toilet?

Most people should be able to sleep for between six and eight hours without needing to get up to go to the toilet. Getting up once to go to the toilet is normal – any more than this and it’s called nocturia (the fancy name for getting up too often in the night to go for a wee). Its effects can be really crippling – getting up several times in the night can disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you absolutely exhausted. There are a number of possible causes for nocturia in men:

An enlarged prostate: but don’t panic. An enlarged prostate is not always something sinister. If the prostate is enlarged, it will press on your bladder, making you need to go to the toilet more often.

Fluid balance: sometimes, nocturia can be caused by something as simple as a fluid imbalance in the body. Perhaps you’re drinking too much before bed (caffeine and alcohol are the worst culprits). If you take diuretics for high blood pressure this can make things worse too, but your doctor can help you to adjust your dose or perhaps slightly alter your medication, which can really help matters. If you’re retaining fluid this can cause nocturia too – if you get swollen legs or ankles, when you lay down to sleep, this fluid can move, meaning that you need to go to the toilet in the night.

Sleep disorders: a condition called sleep apnoea, where your breathing is interrupted several times in the night while you’re asleep can cause nocturia – but again, your doctor can help.

Certain medications: medications can make nocturia worse, for example lithium (for certain mental illnesses), diuretics (water pills) and a number of other medications can make you need to get up to go to the toilet too many times in the night. Speak to your doctor if you think this may be the case, but don’t stop taking your medication without medical advice.

Bladder weakness/male incontinence: an overactive bladder or a weak pelvic floor means that your bladder can’t hold as much urine as it should, meaning that you may have to get up several times in the night to go for a wee. Treating this can be as simple as carrying out male pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder.

The bottom line is, if you’re going to the toilet too often in the night – see your doctor. They will be able to help you find out the cause and help you to treat the symptoms. Don’t suffer in silence!

The treatment for nocturia depends on what’s causing it. It can be something as simple as reducing your fluid intake before bed, wearing compression stockings to stop fluid build-up in your legs or altering your diet so that you take in less caffeine and alcohol which can irritate your bladder.

There’s medications that your doctor can prescribe. Desmopressin causes your kidneys to produce less urine, which could help you make it through the night without needing the toilet. Then there’s diuretics such as Furosemide which will help regulate your urine production throughout the day, and anticholergenics which help to reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder.

If your doctor decides that your nocturia is caused by an overactive bladder or weak pelvic floor, you can do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding and supporting your bladder. You can do these manually, or for fast and effective results, why not try one of our electronic Kegel8 V for Men Pelvic Toner units? There’s programmes which will help you to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor muscles, regain control of your bladder and finally get a better night’s sleep.

Don’t be embarrassed and don’t suffer in silence, there’s lots that can be done to help.