Frequent Urination

If passing urine is painful, see chart 28

How often you pass urine depends largely on how much you drink and how much your bladder can hold before you feel the need to empty it. If your urine looks abnormal, the appearance may give a clue to the cause of the problem (see Checking the appearance of your urine).

  • How much urine do you pass each time you go to the toilet?

    • Less than usual

      Are you female or male?

      • Female

        Could you be pregnant?

        • Not pregnant

          Have you been experiencing either of the following ?

          • A strong urge to pass urine with little urine passed
            • Possible cause Your symptoms may be due to an irritable bladder (see Urge incontinence) or to a urinary tract infection, such as cystitis.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

          • Difficulty controlling urination
            • Possible cause Your symptoms may be due to an irritable bladder (see Urge incontinence) or to a urinary tract infection, such as cystitis.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

          • Neither

            Are you currently taking any medications or complementary remedies?

            • Yes
              • Possible cause Your symptoms may be a side effect of the medication or remedy.

                Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medications unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications or complementary remedies.

            • No

              Do you feel the need to pass urine frequently when you are anxious?

              • Related to anxiety
                • Possible cause Anxiety disorders commonly cause an urge to pass urine frequently, even when the bladder is not full.

                  Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss the causes of your anxiety.

              • Not related to anxiety
                • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your frequent urination from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Possibly pregnant
          • Possible cause An increase in the frequency of passing urine is common in early, as well as later, pregnancy (see Common complaints of normal pregnancy).

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • Male

        Do you have either of the following symptoms?

        • Difficulty starting to pass urine
          • Possible cause You may have an enlarged prostate gland, especially if you are over 55.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Weak urinary system
          • Possible cause You may have an enlarged prostate gland, especially if you are over 55.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Neither

          Are you currently taking any medications or complementary remedies?

          • Yes
            • Possible cause Your symptoms may be a side effect of the medication or remedy.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medications unless advised to stop by your doctor but stop taking any other medications or complementary remedies.

          • No

            Do you feel the need to pass urine frequently when you are anxious?

            • Related to anxiety
              • Possible cause Anxiety disorders commonly cause an urge to pass urine frequently, even when the bladder is not full.

                Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss the causes of your anxiety.

            • Not related to anxiety
              • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your frequent urination from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • As much or more than usual

      Have you been feeling more thirsty than usual?

      • More thirsty

        Have you been experiencing either of the following?

        • Unexplained weight loss
          • Possible cause Diabetes mellitus is a possible cause of your symptoms.

            Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

        • Blurred vision
          • Possible cause Diabetes mellitus is a possible cause of your symptoms.

            Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

        • Neither

          Have you been drinking large amounts of the following?

          • Coffee or tea
            • Possible cause Substances in these drinks may increase the need to pass urine.

              Self-help Reduce your consumption of such drinks. If you continue to be troubled by passing urine too frequently, consult your doctor.

          • Alcohol
            • Possible cause Substances in these drinks may increase the need to pass urine.

              Self-help Reduce your consumption of such drinks. If you continue to be troubled by passing urine too frequently, consult your doctor.

          • Neither
            • Possible cause A kidney disorder, such as glomerulonephritis, or a hormonal disorder, such as diabetes insipidus, are possible causes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • No increased thirst

        Have you been drinking large amounts of the following?

        • Coffee or tea
          • Possible cause Substances in these drinks may increase the need to pass urine.

            Self-help Reduce your consumption of such drinks. If you continue to be troubled by passing urine too frequently, consult your doctor.

        • Alcohol
          • Possible cause Substances in these drinks may increase the need to pass urine.

            Self-help Reduce your consumption of such drinks. If you continue to be troubled by passing urine too frequently, consult your doctor.

        • Neither
          • Possible cause A kidney disorder, such as glomerulonephritis, or a hormonal disorder, such as diabetes insipidus, are possible causes.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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