What Health Risks Can Frequent Urination Point To?

The average person urinates 4 to 7 times in a 24-hour period under normal conditions (average temperature and activity levels). If your loo breaks are getting more frequent than that, you could be drinking too much fluid or consuming too much caffeine, a diuretic which flushes liquids out of the body, thus increasing the urine volume. But if your fluid intake is normal and you still have a strong urge to urinate several times a day, it’s time to step back and find out why. For all you know, your bathroom breaks might be signaling some underlying health issue.

1. Diabetes

Frequent urination with an abnormally large amount of urine (called polyuria) is one of the main symptoms of diabetes (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes). High levels of blood sugar are characteristic of diabetes. This excess glucose from the blood ends up in the urine, where it draws out more water from the body. Large volumes of urine are then generated as the body tries to eliminate the excess unused glucose. The result? Frequent urination and even severe dehydration,

which if left untreated can affect kidney function.1

2. Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease indicates a gradual loss of kidney function, which can ultimately lead to renal failure. If a person has chronic kidney disease, the ability of the kidneys to process urine, part of which involves reabsorbing water into the body, is compromised. This manifests as a tendency to urinate frequently.2

3. Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder problem characterized by pain in the bladder and pelvic region. This condition is caused by inflammation, irritation, or scarring of the bladder wall, decreasing the amount of urine the bladder can comfortably hold. Symptoms include an urgent and/or frequent need to urinate.3

4. Neurogenic Bladder

In this condition, normal bladder control is compromised due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve condition. As a result,

you may be unable to control your impulse to urinate.4

5. Prostate Problems

A person with an enlarged prostate is troubled by intermittent symptoms such as a sudden urge to urinate and that too repeatedly. The enlarged prostate can press against the urethra (the tube that carries urine out the body) and block the flow of urine, causing the bladder wall to become irritable. This leads to frequent contraction of the bladder, even when it contains small amounts of urine, and frequent bathroom breaks.5

When Frequent Urination Needn’t Worry You

Pregnancy: Pregnant women often feel the need to urinate regularly. As your pregnancy progresses, your body will produce more urine. After all, your kidneys now have to deal with the extra waste from both your increased circulation and that of your baby. Your growing uterus is also placing pressure on the bladder. The frequent need to urinate can be due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy as well. But contact your

doctor immediately if you feel pain or a burning sensation while urinating or if the urine is cloudy, has traces of blood, or even smells foul.

Old age: Frequent urination is a fairly common problem among elderly men and women. Age-related changes in the bladder muscle can lead to an overactive bladder and this isn’t a major cause for concern. But if the need to urinate many times is accompanied by pain or other signs of discomfort, watch out. Even in the elderly population, this could then be a sign of underlying diseases. An early diagnosis could prove a game changer.6


Having to urinate frequently can interfere with day-to-day life enormously. Go see your doctor and find out what’s causing your condition and how it can be treated. Getting the right medical advice at the right time will not only help treat the condition but may prove critical in nipping an underlying health problem in the bud.