What causes urinary urgency? 25 possible conditions

Frequent or Urgent Urination

Frequent urination describes the need to urinate more often than you usually do. There is no clear definition of frequent. However, you may have frequent urination issues if the need to urinate creates challenges in your life, or if you develop a fear of being too far from a restroom.

Urgent urination describes an overwhelming need to get to a restroom immediately. It may be accompanied by pain or discomfort in the bladder or urinary tract. You may have urgent urination issues if you sometimes can’t make it to the bathroom in time or if the urge to urinate comes on very suddenly.

These two issues often occur together. This means you feel the need to urinate often, and the urge comes on suddenly.

Common Causes of Frequent or Urgent Urination

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common cause of frequent or urgent urination. Other causes include:

  • drinking too much liquid
  • caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
  • diabetes
  • pregnancy (especially in third trimester, when there is pressure on the bladder)
  • prostate issues (enlargement or infection)
  • anxiety
  • diuretics
  • interstitial cystitis (chronic infection in the bladder)
  • overactive bladder or other urinary incontinence
  • vaginal infection

Less common causes of frequent or urgent urination include:

  • stroke (or other nervous system disorders)
  • tumor
  • bladder cancer
  • radiation therapy to the pelvic area
  • damage or injury to the urinary tract
  • diverticulitis

When to Seek Treatment for Frequent or Urgent Urination

Frequent urination is a habit for some people. You could train your bladder to feel the need to empty before it is necessary if you urinate frequently. Frequent urination is a symptom that develops over time or appears suddenly for others.

Frequent or urgent urination could be normal for you if you don’t have other symptoms. However, in most cases, frequent or urgent urination signals an underlying health condition. Visit your doctor when:

  • your urinary problems are affecting your lifestyle
  • your have blood in your urine
  • your urine is unusually cloudy or smelly
  • you also have a fever, chills, or fatigue
  • you are vomiting
  • you have pain in your abdomen or sides
  • you have sudden weight loss
  • you have increased appetite and/or thirst
  • there is discharge from your penis or vagina

Relieving Symptoms of Frequent or Urgent Urination

The treatment plan for frequent or urgent urination is largely dependent on the cause. Antibiotics can help treat infections. Lifestyle changes such as monitoring liquid consumption and urine output or adjusting medications could help some people. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan to address your specific situation.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Urinary Tract Infection

UTIs are usually caused by bacteria and can occur in any part of the urinary tract. Symptoms of upper UTIs include pain in the upper back, chills, fever, and nausea.

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2

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence. It occurs when you have a sudden urge to urinate. In urge incontinence, the bladder contracts when it should not, and may cause urine to leak past the sphincte...

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3

Benign Enlargement of Prostate

Benign enlargement of the prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a common condition where the prostate gland swells beyond normal size. It is a normal condition of male aging but can interfere with urination.

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4

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are solid masses of crystalized calcium or other substances that originate in the kidneys but can pass through the urinary tract. The greatest risk factor is making less than one liter of urine per day.

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5

Menopause

Menopause is a natural biological process in women that marks the permanent end of menstruation and fertility. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness or pain, and frequent urination are signs.

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6

Bladder Stones: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good

Bladder stones are crystals that form when concentrated urine is left in the bladder after urination, often due to dehydration or being unable to empty the bladder totally. Symptoms include painful urination and others.

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7

Bladder Infection

A bladder infection is a bacterial infection. It also may be called a urinary tract infection (UTI), which refers to infection anywhere in the urinary tract, including the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra.

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8

Urethritis

Urethritis is an infection of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder and semen out of the body. Symptoms include burning while urinating, abdominal pain, and discharge.

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9

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a chronic condition of the bladder that causes sudden urges to urinate. It can happen suddenly, at any time, regardless of the amount of urine in the bladder.

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10

Bladder Neck Obstruction

The bladder neck is a group of muscles that connect the bladder to the urethra. The muscles constrict to hold urine in your bladder, and relax to release it through your urethra. Urinary problems occur whe...

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11

Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammation of the bladder that can cause pelvic and abdominal pain and pressure,frequent urination, urgency (feeling like you need tourinate), and incontinence.Discomfort ca...

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12

Cystitis

Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. It's most often caused by a bacterial infection known as a urinary tract infection (UTI). It can become a serious health issue if the infection spreads to the kidney.

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13

Neurogenic Bladder

Your bladder relies on muscles to contract and release when you are ready to urinate. Your brain typically regulates this process, but sometimes the message that you need to urinate is not sent from your brain to you...

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14

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, which produces a fluid found in semen. The inflammation may spread to the area around the prostate. Causes include bladder infection, STDs, and injuries to the prostate.

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15

Urethral Stricture

The urethra is a tube that helps expel urine from body. When the urethra narrows, it's known as a urethral stricture. Abdominal pain, urge to urinate, and swelling are signs.

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16

Pyelonephritis

Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney and upper urinary tract. Symptoms include flushed skin, back pain, fever, and nausea.

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17

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer occurs in the tissues of the bladder, which is the organ that holds urine. Fatigue, weight loss, painful or frequent urination, and abdominal or back pain are symptoms.

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18

Hydronephrosis

Hydronephrosis is a condition that typically occurs when one kidney becomes swollen due to the failure of normal drainage of urine from the kidney to the bladder. This swelling most commonly affects only one kidney, bu...

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19

Autonomic Neuropathy

Autonomic neuropathy is a condition that results from damage to nerves that help organ and organ systems function. It's often a complication associated with other medical conditions, diseases, and certain medications.

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20

Ovarian Cancer

The ovaries are small, almond-shaped organs located on either side of the uterus that produce eggs. As the disease progresses, symptoms include back pain and indigestion.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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