Excessive Urination Volume (Polyuria)

Written by Amber Erickson Gabbey
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD

What is Excessive Urination Volume?

Excessive urination volume, also called polyuria, occurs when you are urinating more than normal. Urine volume is considered excessive if it equals more than 2.5 liters per day. Exact “normal” urine volume depends on age and gender, but generally, less than 2 liters per day is considered normal.

Urinating excessive volumes of urine is a common issue. Many people notice the symptom at night—in this case, the condition is called nocturnal polyuria.

Common Causes of Excessive Urination Volume

Excessive urine volume often occurs because of lifestyle behaviors, such as drinking a large amount of liquid. In these cases, it isn’t a serious health concern. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks often leads to excessive volumes of urine. Certain medications, such as diuretics will increase urine volume. If you recently started a new medication (or just changed your dosage), and are unexpectedly experiencing changes in your urine, call your doctor.

In some cases, there is an underlying cause to excessive urine output, and it could signal health problems. Potential causes could include:

  • diabetes
  • kidney failure
  • psychogenic polydipsia, a mental disorder causing excessive thirst
  • sickle cell anemia

Another time when you may notice excessive urine volume is after a CT scan or other hospital test in which they inject a dye into your body. Excessive urine volume for one day after the test is common. However, call your doctor if the problem persists.

When to Seek Treatment for Excessive Urination Volume

You should seek treatment for excessive urine volume when you suspect a health issue is the cause. If you suspect the increase is due to an increase in fluids or medication, monitor the volume for a couple days. If the excessive volume persists after monitoring, you will want to contact your doctor.

Relieving Symptoms of Excessive Urination Volume

Excessive urine volume not caused by health concerns can be addressed at home.

Simply by changing the behaviors that lead to excessive urine volume, you may be able to relieve your symptoms. Try the following:

  • watch your fluid intake
  • limit fluids before bedtime
  • limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
  • understand the side effects of medications

Excessive urine volume caused by health concerns, such as diabetes, will be addressed by treating the underlying cause. For instance, treatment for diabetes through changes in diet and medication often relieve the side effect of excessive urine volume.

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Article Sources:

  • Lazorick, S. (1999). Polyuria and Diabetes Insipidus. University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from http://www.med.unc.edu/medicine/web/diabetesinsipidus.htm
  • Urination—Excessive Volume. (2011). National Library of Medicine – National Health Institutes. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003146.htm

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