Excessive urination volume (or polyuria) occurs when you urinate more than normal. Urine volume is considered excessive if it equals more than 2.5 liters per day.
A “normal” urine volume depends on your age and gender. However, less than 2 liters per day is usually considered normal.
Excreting excessive volumes of urine is a common condition but should not last more than several days. Many people notice the symptom at night. In this case, it is called nocturnal polyuria (or nocturia).
Excessive urine output can sometimes signal health problems, including:
- bladder infection (common in children and women)
- urinary incontinence
- interstitial nephritis
- kidney failure
- kidney stones
- psychogenic polydipsia, a mental disorder causing excessive thirst
- sickle cell anemia
- enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (most common in men over 50 years old)
- certain kinds of cancer
You may also notice polyuria after a CT scan or any other hospital test in which a dye is injected into your body. Excessive urine volume is common the day after the test. Call your doctor if the problem continues.
Excessive urine volume often occurs due to lifestyle behaviors. This can include drinking large amounts of liquid, which is known as polydipsia and isn’t a serious health concern. Drinking alcohol and caffeine can also lead to polyuria.
Certain medications, such as diuretics, increase urine volume. Talk to your doctor if you recently started a new medication (or just changed your dosage) and notice changes in your urine volume. Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, and some medications for high blood pressure and edema also act as diuretics, including:
- thiazide diuretics, such as chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide
- potassium-sparing diuretics, such as eplerenone and triamterene
- loop diuretics, such as bumetanide and furosemide
You may experience polyuria as a side effect of these medications.
Seek treatment for polyuria if you think a health issue is the cause. Certain symptoms should prompt you to see your doctor right away, including:
- back pain
- leg weakness
- sudden onset of polyuria, especially in early childhood
- mental disorders
- night sweats
- weight loss
These symptoms can signal spinal cord disorders, diabetes, kidney infections, or cancer. Seek treatment as soon as you notice these symptoms. Treatment can help you quickly address the cause of your polyuria and maintain good health.
If you think the increase is due to an increase in fluids or medication, monitor your urine volume for a couple of days. If the excessive volume continues after this period of monitoring, talk to your doctor.
Diabetes mellitus (often simply called diabetes) is one of the most common causes of polyuria. In this condition, high amounts of glucose (blood sugar) collect in your kidney tubules and cause your urine volume to increase.
Another form of diabetes called diabetes insipidus increases your urine volume because your body isn’t producing enough antidiuretic hormone. Antidiuretic hormone is also known as ADH or vasopressin. ADH is produced by your pituitary gland and is part of the fluid absorption process in your kidneys. Your urine volume can increase if there is not enough ADH produced. It can also increase if your kidneys can’t properly control the fluid passing through them. This is known as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
Your doctor will measure your blood glucose if they suspect that diabetes is causing your polyuria. If a form of diabetes is causing polyuria, your doctor will recommend treatment and lifestyle changes to help get your diabetes under control. These treatments can include:
- insulin injections
- oral medications
- dietary changes
Excessive urine volume not caused by underlying health issues can be addressed at home.
You can likely relieve your symptoms by simply changing the behaviors that lead to excessive urine volume. Try the following tips:
- 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, can be addressed by treating the underlying cause. For example, treatment for diabetes through changes in diet and medication often relieve the side effect of excessive urine volume.
Be open and honest with your doctor about excessive urination. It can be uncomfortable to talk to your doctor about your urination habits. However, the outlook for polyuria is usually good, especially if you don’t have any serious medical conditions. You may only need to make lifestyle changes to resolve your polyuria.
Other underlying conditions causing polyuria may require extensive or long-term treatment. If diabetes or cancer is causing polyuria, your doctor will discuss the necessary treatments for resolving any medical issues in addition to helping get your polyuria under control.