Do you find it hard to get through a meeting or a short road trip without having to stop for a bathroom break? If that sounds familiar, it's probably time to schedule a wellness physical with your doctor.
Needing to pee frequently is not just an inconvenience - it can be an indication that something has gone wrong in your body. While many diseases can have this as a symptom, some are more serious than others:
Diabetes is a disease of the endocrine system, and needing to pee frequently (along with extreme thirst) are only two of the sometimes mild and hard to detect symptoms. Diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone that allows you to use glucose for energy.
While Type 1 diabetes is usually onset in childhood, Type 2 is acquired and can present itself at any time throughout your life.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you may urinate frequently because your kidneys can't reabsorb glucose from your urine. It then returns to the bloodstream, where it attracts more water, causing you to pee more frequently than you normally would.
Untreated diabetes can easily spin out of control, causing kidney failure, fading vision and even limb loss, according to Prevention. If you think you might have diabetes, contact your doctor immediately.
2. Prostate cancer
The prostate is a small organ that is part of a man's reproductive system. Swelling of this organ can be caused by a variety of reasons, including infection and prostate cancer.
Whatever the reason for the enlargement, a swollen prostate puts pressure on the bladder. This causes your need to urinate frequently. It may cause other issues with urination as well, including difficulty and pain while urinating, according to WebMD. If any of these symptoms occur with frequent urination, it's important to see a doctor to have your prostate checked.
3. Interstitial cystitis
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a common disease that can affect both men and women. Simply put, IC causes inflammation of the bladder. In 10 percent to 15 percent of people with IC, painful ulcers may form in the bladder as well.
The most common symptoms are painful urination, pain in the genital area, and a frequent need to urinate. The good news is that in many cases, interstitial cystitis can be treated with some simple lifestyle changes or prescription medication - but you should still see your doctor if you think you might have IC.
4. Overactive bladder syndrome
In most cases, frequent urination is a symptom of something else. However, for people who have an overactive bladder, frequent urination is not a symptom - it's the whole problem.
There are several things that can increase your risk of developing an overactive bladder. These include:
Overactive bladder can be treated with a combination of lifestyle changes, Kegel exercises and prescription medication in most cases. Again, it's important to see your doctor to verify that what you have is only an overactive bladder and not something more serious.
5. Stroke or neurological disorder
Your central nervous system is responsible for many of your body's functions, including your ability to hold your urine when you need to. Sometimes, a person who has experienced a stroke or has a neurological disorder may need to urinate frequently or may have difficulty holding their urine, as outlined by the Cleveland Clinic.
It's rare for a stroke victim to have problems with urination and not also exhibit other signs and symptoms. Some of the most common indications that a stroke has occurred are slurred speech, mental fogginess, a numb or drooped face, weakness in the body and limbs, and blurred vision. If you have any of these symptoms, get to a doctor immediately.
6. Bladder cancer
One of the most serious potential causes of frequent urination is cancer of the bladder. While bladder cancer doesn't get as much attention as other, more common types of cancer, it is still a real risk. If you smoke or take certain diabetes medications, you may be at an increased risk of getting bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer goes hand in hand with inflammation of the bladder, which you already know can increase the frequency of urination. The growth of cancer cells inside the bladder may decrease the available storage space for urine, making it necessary to urinate more frequently.
Other symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine, painful urination and an inability to urinate when you feel like you need to. Your doctor will be able to run tests and do a biopsy to determine if you have bladder cancer.
If you have a problem with frequent urination (defined as urinating more than normal with no traceable cause [like drinking more fluids]), you should consult your doctor.
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