If you find that you are making a trip to the bathroom every two hours or more frequently to urinate, it’s more than normal. And you don’t have to just accept it as the way it is.
In normal circumstances, the human bladder can store urine until it is convenient to go to the toilet, from 4 to 8 times per day.
Frequent urination occurs when your body is not able to control the activity of urination accurately and due to an overactive bladder, you are unable to hold the urine and need to pee more often.
An overactive bladder is not unusual. According to the American Urological Association, about 33 million Americans have an overactive bladder and as many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States live with overactive bladder symptoms (1).
There are many causes behind an overactive bladder. Some common causes include old age, obesity, nerve damage, pregnancy, menopause, cystitis, uncontrolled diabetes, aggregated crystals called gravel in the urinary tract, urinary tract infections, bladder cancer and diseases like prostatitis, prostate fibrosis and urethral stenosis.
Too much water intake, excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, anxiety and medications that cause a rapid increase in urine production or require that you take them with lots of fluids can also cause this annoying problem.
Due to an overactive bladder, you may experience symptoms like an increased urge to urinate, uncontrolled urination, pain while urinating, blood clots in the urine, lower abdominal pain, bladder tenderness and pain in the back as well as hip areas.
Frequent urination is not a very serious problem, but it can cause a lot of discomfort as you have to urinate several times a day, even at night. Fortunately, you can treat this annoying problem with some effective home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for frequent urination.
1. Kegel Exercises
Regularly doing Kegel exercises can help you deal with frequent urination.
Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, consist of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles to make them stronger. By strengthening the muscles of your urethra and pelvis, these exercises support the bladder.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of the Brazilian Medical Association found that pelvic floor muscle training improves the symptomatology, the function of pelvic floor muscles and the quality of life of women with overactive bladder symptoms (2).
- Sit or lie down in a quiet place and locate your Kegel muscles. These are the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine when urinating.
- Contract these muscles for 5 seconds, while breathing normally. Your stomach, back, sides and thigh muscles should not tighten when you do this.
- Relax for 5 seconds and repeat again.
- Repeat 10 to 20 times per session.
- Do this at least 3 times a day.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to home remedies for frequent urination, apple cider vinegar is also effective.
Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help combat any infection that may lead to frequent urination (3). It also reduces the pain associated with infections in the digestive system.
Moreover, it is a rich source of enzymes, potassium and other useful minerals, and helps restore the body’s natural pH balance.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of raw honey to a glass of warm water. Drink it twice daily.
- Also, you can add 1 to 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bathwater. Soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this once daily until your condition improves.
3. Warm Compresses
To ease the pain associated with an overactive bladder, nothing can be better than a soothing warm compress.
The heat will help minimize bladder pressure as well as relax your muscles, thereby lessening the pain.
- Wrap a hot water bottle in a towel.
- Lie down and place it over your lower bladder.
- Leave it there as long as possible.
- Repeat as needed.
You can also use a heating pad to get relief from the pain.
Keeping your bladder healthy is a preventive measure for an overactive bladder.
For bladder health, including yogurt in your diet is a simple yet very effective option. Being a probiotic food, Greek yogurt can boost the growth of good bacteria in the urinary tract and promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
It helps treat urinary tract infections and improve kidney health as well as digestion at the same time.
A 2006 study published in Drugs suggests that probiotics can be beneficial for preventing recurrent urinary tract infections in women (4).
Every day, you should eat 1 or 2 bowls of plain yogurt for best results. Remember not to consume flavored yogurt, since they contain sweeteners and artificial agents.
Along with yogurt, you can have other fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and sour pickles.
Acupuncture is effective for controlling overactive bladder syndrome. In this Chinese technique, acupuncture practitioners treat problems by inserting extremely thin, disposable needles into certain acupuncture points.
A 2005 study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who received 4 weekly bladder-specific acupuncture treatments had significant improvements in bladder capacity, urgency, frequency and quality-of-life scores as compared with women who received placebo acupuncture treatments (5).
Another study published in the British Medical Journal in 2014 indicates that acupuncture could reduce micturition and urgency episodes over 24 hours and improve quality of life among people with overactive bladder (6).
In a recent 2018 study published in Medicine (Baltimore), researchers concluded that acupuncture might have an effect in decreasing the number of micturition episodes, incontinence episodes and nocturia episodes. However, the evidence is insufficient to show the effect of using acupuncture alone or the additional effect to drugs in treating overactive bladder (7).
Always have acupuncture done by a professional expert only. Never try acupuncture on your own if you have not been trained in it.
An alternative treatment, biofeedback can also provide relief from overactive bladder and uncontrolled urination.
In biofeedback, you are connected to electrical sensors that help make subtle changes in your body, such as strengthening your pelvic muscles. This way when you have feelings of urgency, you can suppress them.
A 2000 study published in Urology reports that biofeedback can be employed as an adjunct to other forms of treatment, such as drug therapy, and is particularly useful in children (8).
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Urology found that biofeedback can be thought of as the first-line treatment option when standard urotherapy fails in children with overactive bladder (9).
For biofeedback, you need to consult an expert.
7. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, is good for your overall urinary health.
A great source of vitamin C, it increases the acidity of the urine, thereby killing infection-causing bacteria. The potential problems of urinary tract infections are one of the key causes behind an overactive bladder.
Moreover, vitamin C is good for your immunity.
- Extract the juice of an amla, add 1 teaspoon of honey to it and stir well. Consume this mixture along with a banana 2 to 4 times a day.
- Add 1 teaspoon each of Indian gooseberry and turmeric powder to 1 cup of water. Boil the solution until half the water evaporates. Allow it to cool for some time. Drink the solution 3 times a day for 3 to 5 days.
8. Avoid Dietary Triggers
Certain dietary triggers can make your bladder overactive and cause more urination. In such a scenario, it is best to avoid the dietary triggers as much as possible.
Foods and drinks that are known to contribute to overactive bladder are caffeinated beverages; citrus juices and fruits; soda and other carbonated beverages; chocolate; spicy foods; artificial sweeteners; milk and milk products; and sugar and high-sugar foods.
Although cranberry juice is often recommended for bladder health, it actually acts as an irritant if you have overactive bladder. So, avoid this juice.
You must also limit your alcohol intake, as drinking too much alcohol can also lead to frequent urination.
9. Don’t Restrict Fluids Too Much
An overactive bladder in no way means that you should limit your fluid intake. In fact, you must try to drink enough fluid to keep your body hydrated, but avoid excess intake at any cost. Ask your doctor how much fluid you need daily.
If you don’t drink enough fluids, your urine becomes concentrated and can irritate the lining of your bladder. This in turn will increase the urge to urinate. Dehydration may even exacerbate some conditions, specifically chronic constipation and headache intensity.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing recommends decreased fluid intake for managing overactive bladder symptoms, while ensuring adequate hydration for other health needs (10).
To manage your fluid intake:
- Spread out fluid intake throughout the day, sipping water between meals.
- Unless you’re exercising, avoid carrying a large water bottle with you.
- To drink water, use smaller cups and sip your water slowly.
You must avoid drinking too many liquids right before bed, as you may have to empty your bladder more often during the night and this will only affect your sleep.
10. Avoid Constipation
Hard stools can press against the urinary tract and block the flow of urine, allowing bacteria to grow and increasing the risk of a urinary tract infection, which in turn can result in an overactive bladder.
Also, constipation can worsen the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
A 2017 study published in BioMed Research International reports that moderate to severe overactive bladder symptoms are correlated with functional constipation. Moreover, functional constipation is related to moderate to severe overactive bladder symptoms and to overactive bladder with urinary incontinence (11).
Hence, it is important to have regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. To prevent constipation, include high-fiber foods in your diet. Fiber helps soften the stools by drawing water into them, making them bulkier and easier to pass.
A 2012 meta-analysis published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that dietary fiber intake can increase stool frequency in patients with constipation (12).
To get fiber, include whole-grain cereals and breads, brown rice, beans, lentils, and fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Once you need to pee, just do it. If you hold it inside, it increases the risk of an infection.
- Do not wear tight clothes, particularly undergarments.
- Manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that might contribute to overactive bladder symptoms.
- Schedule toilet trips so that your body gets trained to urinate at the same times every day.
- Use absorbent pads or undergarments to protect your clothing and avoid embarrassing incidents.
- Try bladder training to train yourself to delay voiding when you feel an urge to urinate.
- If you are overweight, try to lose weight. Your bladder will suffer from more pressure due to excess weight.
- Stop smoking. It not only irritates the bladder, and also increases the risk of bladder cancer.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
Answered by Dr. Daniel C. Edwards, DO (Urologist)
What is the normal frequency of urination for a healthy adult?
It is highly dependent on the volume of liquids consumed per day. Adults should aim for a minimum of 2.5 liters of urine output per day.
As a normal bladder capacity ranges from 350cc (about a soda can) to 500cc (a soda bottle), an adult can urinate anywhere from 4-8 times a day in the normal range. Less than 4 or greater than 8 urinations per day may signify a problem, or may just be a factor related to the amount of fluid consumed.
Can any dietary changes help in controlling the problem of frequent urination?
For patients without identifiable causes of frequent urination, dietary modification such as decreasing caffeine intake and limiting spicy foods may help, though decreasing fluid intake is rarely an issue as most people don’t drink enough.
Are kegel exercises beneficial for treating the problem of frequent urination?
Kegel exercises can be beneficial in some scenarios when patients experience frequent urination, but this should be discussed with a urologist before assuming it will help.
What precautions can be taken to deal with frequent urination at night?
In many people, the frequency of urination at night may be related to evening consumption of caffeine, alcohol, or fluid in general, and limiting this intake may help.
If the nighttime frequency is due to poor daytime emptying or related to hormones released overnight, a urologist will be able to narrow down the causes and offer management strategies.
Is the problem of frequent urination any way connected with obesity?
Frequent urination is not a function of a person’s body size.
Please provide some important tips to help prevent and treat the problem of frequent urination.
It is reasonable to start by assessing how many times one urinates and at what times during the day, as well as how much fluid is consumed during the day and at what times.
This information can be presented to a urologist who can then guide a patient in lifestyle and dietary modification, if appropriate, or can even pursue a further investigation if the cause is unclear.
About Dr. Daniel C. Edwards, DO: Dr. Edwards is a urologist and practices in Southeastern Pennsylvania with a special interest in cancerous conditions that affect the kidneys, bladder, prostate, and genitalia.
- Urology Care Foundation – What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)? Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/overactive-bladder-(oab).
- Pelvic floor muscle training for overactive bladder symptoms – A prospective study. Revista da Associacao Medica Brasileira (1992). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29489983. Published December 2017.
- Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788933.
- Probiotics for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a review of the evidence from microbiological and clinical studies. Drugs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16827601.
- Acupuncture for overactive bladder: a randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics and Gynecology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15994629. Published July 2005.
- Acupuncture for adults with overactive bladder: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/1/e006756. Published January 01, 2015.
- Acupuncture for adults with overactive bladder- A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5841968. February 2018.
- Biofeedback in overactive bladder. Urology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10767447. Published May 2000.
- Biofeedback as a first-line treatment for overactive bladder syndrome refractory to standard urotherapy in children. Journal of Pediatric Urology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27102986. Published October 2016.
- Does Increasing or Decreasing the Daily Intake of Water/Fluid by Adults Affect Overactive Bladder Symptoms? Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26528873.
- Female Functional Constipation Is Associated with Overactive Bladder Symptoms and Urinary Incontinence. BioMed Research International. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5350309. Published 2017.
- Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23326148. Published December 28, 2012.