Nocturnal Polyuria and the Quest for a Better Bladder at Night

Is having an overactive bladder causing you to have a restless night’s sleep? Waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night can be an inconvenience, but when does it become a medical issue? 

Knowledge is power, so read on to learn information that may put your mind at ease and even help you have an easier time communicating with your physician so you can achieve a “better bladder” at night. 

What is Nocturnal Polyuria?

“Nocturia” is defined by the International Continence Society as “the interruption of sleep one or

more times at night to void.” It is important to note that while Overactive Bladder (OAB) can occur alongside nocturia, they are separate conditions. 

That being said, people who are experiencing nocturia are usually also dealing with a separate condition that causes nocturnal polyuria as a side effect.

To better detail the specifics of Nocturnal Polyuria, a paper the UCLA School of Medicine stated, “Nocturnal polyuria is a syndrome where the usual day to night ratio of urine production is altered. In patients with nocturnal polyuria, 33% of the total daily urine output occurs at night, although the daily total urine output remains normal.” 

If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute! That’s happened to me!”, take a deep breath. It’s fairly common for anyone of any age for a multitude of reasons to experience some sort of Nocturia at some point in their lives, but when the occurrence is frequent and affects your quality of life, sometimes it’s best to reevaluate.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Nocturnal Polyuria

The causes for nocturnal polyuria as a side effect can range from:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes 
  • Overactive bladder 
  • Urinary tract obstruction

This is not an exhaustive list, however, so if one is experiencing nocturia or similar symptoms, they should consult a physician to identify or rule out any underlying conditions.

Why Should You Visit a Doctor for Nocturnal Polyuria?

Ignoring nocturnal polyuria can have a number of consequences, especially if left untreated. Interrupting your natural sleep cycles to urinate may seem like a small, temporary inconvenience, but constantly getting up during the night can have lasting effects over time. These negative side effects can wear on an individual and impact their quality of life. Losing sleep for any reason can cause other side effects such as depression, cognitive dysfunction, and a reduced sense of well-being overall, but, more importantly, nocturnal polyuria has been associated with an increased risk of morbidity and even mortality.

To reach a diagnosis, the doctor will likely first ask the patient to keep a bladder diary in which they will document everything from illnesses to fluid intake. If the doctor still can’t make a definitive determination, there are a number of tests they could perform, such as a urine culture or a blood test.

What are the Treatment Options for Nocturnal Polyuria?

While this may seem a daunting, overwhelming issue to deal with, there are treatment options available that may improve your lifestyle. And while there is not a treatment specifically for nocturnal polyuria, you can treat the underlying causes, which will, in turn, help lessen your nocturnal polyuria symptoms. Some will go with at-home lifestyle management or medication, but those haven’t always been the most effective treatment methods, hence why new options have emerged in recent years.

For instance, there is an FDA-cleared, non invasive procedure available that can help treat urinary incontinence, ThermiVa, which can then help lessen the effects of nocturnal polyuria. 

Using controlled, radiofrequency energy to heat the area, ThermiVa will ultimately contract the tissues. This procedure is gaining in popularity for urinary incontinence treatment because of its efficacy and because of the fact that it is painless and requires no downtime.