Common Causes of Frequent Urination

Frequent urination is one of the most common symptoms of overactive bladder, or OAB. But how do you know if you’re urinating too frequently? What are the common causes of frequent urination, and what can be done to manage or treat the symptoms?

Read on to learn more about this condition, how it relates to overall bladder health, and how to tackle the challenges that frequent urination causes in your daily life.


What is frequent urination?


Frequent urination is defined as urinating more than eight times per day, or so often that it affects one’s daily life. Frequent urination may be accompanied by other OAB symptoms, such as bladder leaks or nocturia (a medical term for excessive nighttime urination). However, it can occur on its own and still indicate a health problem.


The most common causes of frequent urination


As mentioned above, frequent urination is a common symptom of OAB, an umbrella term describing a collection of symptoms including frequent urination, nocturia (getting up to urinate at night), urinary urgency (having to rush to get to the bathroom) and urgency incontinence (leaking urine before making it to the bathroom). Patients may suffer from one of these symptoms, which can have a significant impact on quality of life.

While many people experience frequent urination on occasion, chronic or sudden acute frequent urination can indicate an underlying medical problem and should be given medical attention. As mentioned above, OAB is a common cause, but some non-OAB related causes of frequent urination include:


  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Kidney infection or kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Conditions that put pressure on the bladder or cause bladder irritability, such as an enlarged prostate, tumors, or growths in the pelvic region
  • Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury as examples
  • Interstitial cystitis, a condition of unknown cause associated with pain in the bladder/pelvic region as well as frequent urination
  • Vaginitis
  • Swelling and infection in the urethra


In addition to the medical causes above, frequent urination can be caused by lifestyle: e.g., excessive fluid consumption (especially those with diuretic properties such as caffeine or alcohol) or use of diuretic medications (“water pills”), such as those prescribed for high blood pressure. Frequent urination is also sometimes related to anxiety.


Is frequent urination treatable?


In general, yes – but to get the right treatment, it’s crucial for your doctor to be able to determine the underlying cause of your frequent urination symptoms. While some cases of frequent urination can be resolved through noninvasive and/or lifestyle interventions, others may be caused by serious health conditions that require more advanced treatment.

The best thing you can do is to track your symptoms by keeping a detailed bladder diary. Record the following information to share with your care provider:


  • How often you urinate and when – i.e., how many times per day/night and what time
  • Fluid intake – what and how much you drank that day
  • Food intake – what you ate that day
  • Urgency level – how strong was the urge to go (mild, moderate or you needed to rush to get there)
  • Bladder leaks
  • The activity you were engaged in at the time of urge


Answering these questions on a daily basis and sharing the information with your doctor can help your doctor identify what may be triggering your symptoms, an important step for diagnosis and treatment.


Managing OAB-related frequent urination


Those living with OAB are all too familiar with the interruptions frequent urination causes in one’s day-to-day life. Frequent trips to the bathroom can impact one’s ability to be productive at work, freely enjoy leisure time, have healthy sex lives, exercise, and more. Below are just a few of the coping mechanisms people with OAB-related frequent urination rely on to manage their symptoms:


  • Bathroom mapping: People with frequent urination caused by OAB often take care to map out their access to bathrooms when they know they’ll have to be out in public for extended periods of time.
  • Avoiding travel: Long airplane rides and road trips are problematic for people who need to urinate frequently.
  • Avoiding sexual activity
  • Reducing outings: Many people with frequent urination caused by OAB minimize trips out of their houses for fear of not having access to restrooms.
  • Changing or reducing exercise habits: Likewise, frequent urination can impact outdoor exercise regimes where there is no reliable restroom access.
  • Dietary changes: Many people with OAB reduce or eliminate diuretic or inflammatory fluids and foods from their diet, including coffee, tea, alcohol, citrus juice, tomatoes, tomato-based products, and artificial sweeteners. On the other hand, staying properly hydrated (but not over-hydrated) is also important, as drinking too few fluids can cause bladder irritation.


As you can see, without medical advice or intervention, self-management of OAB-related frequent urination symptoms can severely restrict a person’s daily life. Is there hope for actually reducing your bathroom trips so you can participate as fully as you want in activities like travel, leisure, and exercise? Below, learn more about your options.


Tips for reducing frequency of urination


As with other types of OAB, treatment for frequent urination usually starts with non-invasive lifestyle changes. If those don’t suffice to address the underlying causes of frequent urination, care providers may suggest medication, alternative medicine such as acupuncture, or advanced therapies.


  • Pelvic exercises – For women with frequent urination, care providers may suggest exercises (such as Kegel’s) that can help strengthen your pelvic floor improve control over your bladder.
  • Bladder retraining – Going to the bathroom when you don’t need to can “train” your bladder to be overactive. To retrain your bladder, start by trying to reduce bathroom trips to no more than every 2 hours, but start at an interval that you can be successful with and gradually increase the time between voids.
  • Medication – There are medications that can reduce the frequency of urges to urinate. However, as with all pharmaceutical interventions, medications can come with side effects and often take much trial and error to determine the right drug for a particular patient. You should weigh the pros and cons of medication with your doctor, giving careful consideration to your medical history and any other medications you are taking.
  • Advanced therapies – When lifestyle changes or medication don’t eliminate symptoms, advanced therapies such as surgeries and implants are available to help improve communication between the brain and the bladder.


Learn more about advanced therapies for OAB-related frequent urination


Axonics’®  sacral neuromodulation therapy uses a small implant to restore healthy communication between the brain and bladder. Read more about the Axonics System today to find out if it’s the right choice for you.


Axonics does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.