Frequent urination is a symptom of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Diabetes can cause frequent urination, but urinating frequently can also have other causes, such as a urinary tract infection.
If you’re urinating more often than usual, your frequent urination could be a symptom of high blood sugar, which may be an early symptom of diabetes.
However, there are many potential causes of frequent urination, including some that are harmless.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the body no longer produces insulin or does not produce enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body has lower insulin sensitivity and uses insulin less effectively.
Insulin is a hormone that draws glucose, or sugar, into the cells to use as energy. This can result in high blood sugar levels.
Too much sugar in your blood is extremely taxing on the kidneys, which work to reabsorb sugar into the bloodstream. When the kidneys can’t reabsorb all the sugar correctly, urination helps eliminate much of that glucose from the body.
This process also flushes out valuable hydrating fluids from your body, often leaving people with diabetes urinating frequently and dehydrated.
Early on, you may not even notice that you’re urinating more often than usual. One of the key warning signs, however, is if frequent urination starts to wake you up from sleep and deplete your energy levels.
Frequent urination is a hallmark symptom of hyperglycemia associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is because the elimination of bodily fluids is sometimes your body’s only way of flushing excess blood sugar.
But urinating more than usual is just
- Fatigue: If cells cannot draw on glucose for energy, this can leave people with diabetes feeling depleted and exhausted much of the time. Dehydration only makes the fatigue worse.
- Weight loss: A combination of low insulin levels and a difficulty absorbing sugar from the blood can lead to rapid weight loss in people with diabetes.
- Blurred vision: This side effect due to diabetes may be from swelling of the lens of the eyes when blood sugar levels fluctuate. Over time, blurred vision occurs due to damage to the retina’s blood vessels.
- Swollen gums: Those with diabetes can be at a higher risk of infections, buildup of pus, or swelling in the gums.
- Tingling: A loss of sensation in the limbs, fingers, or toes is a common side effect of excess blood sugar and may be a symptom of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
If you’re frequently urinating and worry it might be diabetes, it’s time to consult with a doctor. This is especially true if you notice other symptoms along with frequent urination.
A doctor can determine if you have diabetes or prediabetes through medical tests. These tests may
- A1C test
- fasting blood sugar test
- glucose tolerance test
- random blood sugar test
The number of times you urinate daily can vary from person to person. People usually define frequent urination as having to go more frequently than you usually do, or urinating
Urinating more often than usual can result from a number of different factors. Diabetes is only one possible explanation. Some other conditions that can sometimes affect your bladder function include:
Some of these causes, like having an overactive bladder, are inconvenient but relatively harmless. Other conditions are quite serious. Talk with a doctor about your frequent urination if you:
Treating the diabetes as a whole is the best way to approach treating bladder problems stemming from diabetes.
Simply monitoring fluid intake or scheduling bathroom trips likely won’t help much, as the major problem is excess blood sugar, not excess fluid.
If you do have diabetes, make sure to contact a doctor who can come up with a treatment plan specifically for you. In general, common treatments for diabetes include:
Diet and blood sugar monitoring
People with diabetes need to be keenly aware of what they eat while keeping a close eye on blood sugar levels, ensuring they don’t get too high or too low. Eat a balanced diet filled with fibrous fruits and vegetables and low in processed sugar and carbohydrates.
Regular exercise may help increase insulin sensitivity in your cells and promote the absorption of glucose for energy. Diabetes makes these processes less effective, but in some cases, physical activity can improve them.
Depending on the diabetes type and severity, you may need regular insulin injections or a pump. If your body has a difficult time making or absorbing insulin on its own, these injections may be crucial to managing your blood sugar.
There are many other medications for diabetes that can help your body naturally create more insulin, break down carbohydrates for energy, or adjust the speed of digestion.
The following are frequently asked questions about frequent urination and diabetes.
Which type of diabetes makes you urinate frequently?
If you have diabetes type 1 or type 2, frequent urination may be due to high blood sugar. It is not a general symptom of diabetes but rather a symptom of the complication of hyperglycemia. It may be a warning sign of either type of diabetes or prediabetes.
What does urine look like if you have diabetes?
When too much blood sugar builds up in your urine, it may make your urine look cloudy and give it a sweet or fruity smell.
What are warning signs of prediabetes?
You may not have any symptoms of prediabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is high but not high enough for a doctor to diagnose you with type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms such as excessive thirst or peeing more frequently may indicate high blood sugar. Other symptoms can include tiredness, blurry vision, and sores or cuts that heal slowly or do not heal.
Frequent urination on its own isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. There are many possible causes of needing to urinate more often than usual, including an increase in fluid intake or simply an overactive bladder.
However, if other symptoms like fatigue, blurred vision, or tingling in the limbs accompany frequent urination, make an appointment with a doctor for a possible diabetes screening.
Also contact a doctor if your urine is dark-colored or red, painful, or so frequent that it’s keeping you up at night or severely impacting your life.
If in doubt, it’s best to consult a doctor about frequent urination to get to the bottom of what’s causing it.