What is Nocturia?

Female Urinary Tract
Female Urinary Tract

Male Urinary Tract
Male Urinary Tract

If you wake up more than one time each night to go to the bathroom, you may have nocturia. Sleep disruption from having to urinate during the night can impact your quality of life.

About 1 in 3 adults over the age of 30 experience nocturia. The rate of people affected increases with age. It can be caused by a lifestyle habit or an underlying health problem.
Nocturia can be caused by:

  • Polyuria: when your body makes too much urine in a 24-hour period
  • Nocturnal polyuria: when your body makes too much urine during the night
  • Bladder storage problems: when your bladder doesn't store or release urine well
  • Mixed nocturia: when more than one of these problems are happening

It helps to talk with your health care provider to learn why you make multiple trips to the bathroom at night. You may learn that your nocturia is fairly easy to treat, or you may find it's from something more serious.

How Does the Urinary Tract Normally Work?

The "urinary tract" includes the organs in your body that make, store and remove urine. Urine is liquid waste from your body. Urine forms when the kidneys clean your blood. Normally, the kidneys make about 1½ to 2 quarts of urine each day in an adult; less in children. Urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder through the ureters (the tubes that join them). The bladder holds urine until you are ready to empty it.

The brain and the bladder work together to control urinary function. The muscles in the lower part of the pelvis hold the bladder in place. The muscular neck (end) of the bladder stays closed to store urine. The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder, out of the body. It is kept closed with sphincter muscles.

Parts of the bladder control system

Once you are ready to urinate, the brain sends a signal to the bladder. Then the bladder muscles contract. This pushes urine out of the bladder and through the urethra. The sphincter muscles then open and urine is released out of the body.