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Bladder Health Month—Week 4

Woman waking up again to use the bathroom
Answering the call of nature, again

It's Week 4 of Bladder Health Month! What’s up for this week? Waking at night to void (also called Nocturia).

What is Nocturia?

Nocturia is a fancy word for your bladder waking you at night to void. The more often you wake to pee, the more disruptive this is to your sleep and the more distress this can cause to your health.

How Common is Nocturia?

Nocturia is actually really common, and pretty equally affects women and men of all ages. About half of all women and men older than 60 years of age get up at night to pee at least once, with the prevalence increasing with age.

But nocturia isn't just for aging adults. Studies show that between 20-44% of women aged 20-40 get up one time or more per night to go to the bathroom, while 11-35% of men aged 20-40 wake to pee. Clearly this is a common problem, and one that can have a significant effect on your health.

Note: Getting up at night to void is a common and normal adaptation to being pregnant; this usually resolves on its own within weeks after the baby is born. Nocturia also has the added bonus of getting you used to getting up for baby!

Why is it Important to Treat Nocturia?

Aside from the obvious irritation of having your sleep interrupted, there are other important reasons to break this habit and work to get more shut-eye. The more often you wake up at night from your bladder, the more distress this can cause your body. This may include:

  • Reduced total sleep time and more fragmented, lower-quality sleep. Also, over 40% of people who have a nighttime awakening will have trouble going back to sleep. This can cause daytime sleepiness, interfere with your ability to focus and stay on task, and even alter your mood.

  • Older adults who have to get up to empty their bladder at night are at a higher risk of falls and fall-related injuries, especially when rushing to the bathroom. People who make at least 2 or more nocturnal bathroom visits a night have more than double the risk of fractures and fall-related traumas.