What causes urinary urgency? 20 possible conditions
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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.
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
- pregnancy (especially in third trimester, when there is pressure on the bladder)
- prostate issues (enlargement or infection)
- 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)
- bladder cancer
- radiation therapy to the pelvic area
- damage or injury to the urinary tract
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
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.
- Frequent or Urgent Urination. (2012). National Library of Medicine – National Health Institutes. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003140.htm
- Frequent urination. (n.d.). Mount Sinai Medical Center: Urology. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from http://www.miami-urology.com/conditions/frequent-urination
See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.
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