Skip to Content

What stops frequent urination?

Frequent urination, also known as urinary frequency, is the need to urinate more often than usual. It can disrupt daily life and be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Understanding the causes and treatments for frequent urination can help find relief. This article explores the common causes, risk factors, and treatments to help stop frequent pee trips to the bathroom.

What is frequent urination?

Frequent urination means needing to urinate more often than usual. Adults typically urinate 4-8 times per day, or about 6 times on average. Needing to urinate more than 8 times in 24 hours is considered frequent urination.

Frequent urination may involve:

  • Needing to urinate more than every 2-3 hours
  • Needing to get up more than twice at night to urinate (nocturia)
  • A sudden, urgent need to urinate that is difficult to postpone (urinary urgency)

Frequent urination can disrupt sleep and daily activities. It may be accompanied by other symptoms like urinary urgency, urine leakage, or pain while urinating. Understanding the underlying cause is key to finding the right treatment.

What causes frequent urination?

There are several possible causes for needing to urinate frequently:

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common cause of frequent urination. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria, especially E. coli, entering the urethra and traveling up to the bladder. This leads to inflammation and irritation of the bladder wall, triggering signals to urinate more often.

Other UTI symptoms include:

  • Burning with urination
  • Cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody urine
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Low grade fever and chills

UTIs can be cured with antibiotic treatment. Getting prompt treatment is important to prevent the infection spreading to the kidneys.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC), also called painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic bladder condition. It causes bladder pressure, discomfort, and frequent urination. The exact cause is unknown, but may involve chronic inflammation of the bladder walls.

People with IC urinate up to 60 times per day in severe cases. Other symptoms include:

  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Urine leakage
  • Pelvic pain
  • Discomfort while the bladder fills

There is no cure for IC, but various treatments can provide symptom relief.

Overactive bladder

Overactive bladder causes a sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control. It leads to frequent urination, urine leakage, and waking up multiple times at night to urinate.

The cause is involuntary bladder muscle contractions. Risk factors include:

  • Age – overactive bladder occurs more often in older adults
  • Hysterectomy – bladder control issues sometimes happen after uterus removal
  • Stroke – nerve damage from stroke can affect bladder control
  • Parkinson’s disease – a neurologic disorder that impairs bladder control

Overactive bladder can often be treated with lifestyle changes, bladder training, pelvic floor physical therapy, and medications.

Enlarged prostate

In men, an enlarged prostate is a common cause of frequent urination. This walnut-sized gland surrounds the urethra and can squeeze or block urine flow when enlarged. Symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Weak urine stream
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Dribbling after urination ends

Enlarged prostate is common in older men due to natural prostate growth. Treatment options include medications, minimally invasive therapies, and surgery.


During pregnancy, the growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, reducing bladder capacity and leading to more frequent urination. Urinary frequency often starts around 6 weeks gestation and persists throughout pregnancy.

To help manage frequent urination:

  • Drink adequate water, but limit fluid intake before bedtime
  • Avoid bladder irritants like caffeine, alcohol, carbonation, artificial sweeteners
  • Do Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles

Frequent urination typically resolves after giving birth.


Uncontrolled diabetes can cause frequent urination. When blood glucose levels become very high, the kidneys try to get rid of the excess sugar through urine. This leads to increased urine production and frequent urination.

Other diabetes symptoms may include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Getting blood sugar under control through diet, exercise, and medication can help resolve frequent urination caused by diabetes.

Caffeine and alcohol

Drinks containing caffeine or alcohol can increase urine production and cause frequent urination. Caffeine and alcohol stimulate the kidneys and also have a diuretic effect.

Limiting caffeine from coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks and avoiding too much alcohol can help.


Certain medications can list frequent urination as a side effect. Examples include:

  • Diuretics – water pills used to treat high blood pressure
  • Some blood pressure medications
  • Sedatives
  • Antidepressants

Talk to a doctor about medication alternatives if frequent urination becomes bothersome.

Urinary tract abnormalities

Structural problems affecting the urinary tract may cause frequent urination. Examples include:

  • Bladder stones – hardened mineral deposits in the bladder that irritate the bladder wall
  • Urethral stricture – narrowing of the urethra that obstructs urine flow
  • Neurogenic bladder – nerve signals between the bladder and brain are disrupted, leading to urine retention and frequent urination
  • Bladder cancer – cancerous bladder tumors can irritate the bladder wall and cause frequent urination

Evaluating urinary tract abnormalities typically involves imaging tests and cystoscopy procedures to view inside the urethra and bladder.

Who is at risk for frequent urination?

Factors that increase frequent urination risk include:

  • Women – women have higher UTI risk due to shorter urethras
  • Older adults – bladder muscles weaken and capacity decreases with age
  • Urinary tract abnormalities – strictures, stones, tumors can obstruct urine flow
  • Enlarged prostate – benign prostate growth squeezes the urethra in older men
  • Pregnancy – growing uterus puts pressure on bladder
  • Menopause – declining estrogen thins urethra walls and tissue
  • Obesity – excess weight presses on the bladder
  • Neural tube defects – spinal cord abnormalities cause neurogenic bladder
  • Bladder surgery – prior bladder surgery or radiation can cause scarring

Frequent urination can happen at any age, but the risk increases with age due to weakened bladder muscles.

When to seek medical advice

It’s normal to occasionally need to urinate more often. But see a doctor if frequent urination:

  • Happens persistently
  • Is accompanied by pain or burning
  • Disrupts sleep or normal activities
  • Occurs with other symptoms like back pain or blood in urine
  • Begins after starting a new medication

Prompt evaluation is recommended to identify any underlying condition requiring treatment. Sudden, severe frequent urination may indicate a kidney stone or urinary tract infection requiring urgent care.

Diagnosing causes of frequent urination

To determine the cause of frequent urination, the doctor will typically:

  • Ask about your symptoms, medical history, and medication use
  • Conduct a physical exam, including a pelvic and abdominal exam
  • Analyze a urine sample to check for signs of infection or other abnormalities
  • Order blood work to look for issues like diabetes

Other possible diagnostic tests include:

Test Purpose
Ultrasound Views bladder and urinary tract to check for structural issues
Cystoscopy Uses a camera to examine the urethra and bladder for abnormalities
Urodynamic testing Measures bladder pressure and urine flow to assess function
CT scan or MRI Further evaluates urinary tract for stones, tumors, etc.

Identifying the underlying cause guides appropriate treatment to relieve frequent urination.

Treatments to reduce frequent urination

Treatment depends on the cause, but may include:


Antibiotics cure bacterial infections like UTIs that cause bladder irritation and frequent urination. Amoxicillin, cephalexin, nitrofurantoin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are commonly prescribed.


Drugs that help control overactive bladder and relax bladder muscles may be prescribed. These include:

  • Oxybutynin (Ditropan)
  • Tolterodine (Detrol)
  • Mirabegron (Myrbetriq)
  • Solifenacin (Vesicare)

Alpha blockers like tamsulosin also help relax the bladder neck and prostate to improve urine flow in men.

Bladder training

This trains the bladder to hold more urine by resisting urges and delaying bathroom trips.

Diet changes

Avoiding bladder irritants like alcohol, caffeine, carbonation, citrus, and artificial sweeteners can help.

Pelvic floor therapy

Exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles support better bladder control.

Electrical stimulation

Mild electrical pulses to pelvic floor nerves may calm overactive bladder signals.

Bladder instillations

Medications instilled directly into the bladder can treat chronic bladder inflammation and irritation.


Surgery to remove bladder tumors, stones, or enlarge prostrate tissue compressing the urethra may be necessary in some cases.

Home remedies and lifestyle changes

A few simple self-care steps can also help manage urinary frequency:

  • Limit fluid intake before bed to avoid waking up to urinate
  • Avoid bladder irritants like caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners
  • Do Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Use pessaries or vaginal cones to support weakened pelvic floor muscles
  • Try double voiding – urinate, relax, and try to go again to fully empty bladder
  • Manage constipation, which can put pressure on the bladder
  • Aim for a healthy weight – excess weight presses on the bladder
  • Don’t hold urine too long – try to go when needed

When to see a urologist

Seeing a urologist may be recommended if:

  • Frequent urination persists despite treatment
  • It stems from an enlarged prostate, tumors, bladder stones, or strictures
  • Men have bothersome urinary symptoms
  • Specialized testing like cystoscopy or urodynamics is needed
  • Surgery may be necessary to address the underlying cause

A urologist specializes in treating urinary tract conditions in men, women and children.

Preventing frequent urination

Steps to help prevent frequent urination include:

  • Practice good hygiene – wipe front to back, urinate after sex, avoid douches and irritating products
  • Treat constipation – straining can weaken pelvic floor muscles
  • Do Kegels – strengthen pelvic floor muscles with regular exercises
  • Avoid bladder irritants – limit caffeine, alcohol, carbonation, citrus juices, artificial sweeteners
  • Manage chronic health conditions – follow treatment for diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s
  • Maintain a healthy weight – excess weight presses on the bladder
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water daily

Seeking prompt treatment for urinary tract infections can also prevent recurrent infections leading to frequent urination.

Outlook for frequent urination

The outlook depends on the cause. Mild frequent urination may resolve with simple lifestyle changes. Treating underlying conditions like UTIs, interstitial cystitis, enlarged prostate, or diabetes can prevent recurrent episodes of frequent urination.

Frequent urination can be frustrating to manage, but there are many effective treatments available to help reduce urinary frequency and allow you to go about your daily life without constant bathroom trips.

See your doctor promptly if frequent urination becomes a problem. Identifying and properly treating the root cause is key to finding relief.


Frequent urination can have many causes, from UTIs to enlarged prostates to diabetes. While it may disrupt daily life, there are various effective treatments available. Diagnosing the specific cause is important in order to get the right treatment and find relief from constantly needing to urinate. Simple lifestyle measures can help manage symptoms, but see a doctor if urinary frequency persists or disrupts sleep and normal activities.