Understanding and managing nocturia: A Growing concern across ages

By Esther Muhozi
On 19 March 2024 at 11:24

Nocturia is a condition that causes people to wake up multiple times during the night to urinate. It primarily affects older adults, but recent alerts from medical experts indicate that it’s increasingly affecting younger individuals as well.

According to an analysis by the European Association of Urology (EAU) of various studies, this condition predominantly impacts older men. It affects approximately 63% to 93% of those over the age of 70, largely due to the bladder’s reduced capacity to hold urine for extended periods in this age group.

Research shows that the prevalence of nocturia in older men is closely linked to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that causes the prostate gland to enlarge, leading to frequent and often urgent needs to urinate, even when the bladder may not be full. This results in multiple trips to the bathroom, particularly at night.

Younger individuals are not immune to nocturia, with contributing factors including the consumption of beverages that can irritate the bladder, especially close to bedtime.

Discussions with general practitioners, like GP Al-Zubaidi quoted in The Guardian, reveal a rising number of both men and women in their 20s and 30s presenting with symptoms of nocturia.

This is supported by a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics on 13,294 Americans, which found that 32% of those aged 20 and above experienced nocturia, waking up at least two to three times per night to urinate.

The study also noted that individuals who spend five or more hours a day watching TV are 48% more likely to develop nocturia compared to those who spend less time in front of the television. This increase in risk may be due to higher fluid intake during these viewing hours, prompting more frequent urination at night.

For women suffering from nocturia, there can be additional complications, such as a decreased ability to enjoy or engage in sexual activity due to discomfort or reduced genital sensitivity.

The impact of nocturia on a person’s life can be profound, leading to fatigue, reduced productivity at work, mental health issues, and even severe depression. It also increases the risk of urinary tract infections and complications related to other conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Though not always curable, especially when linked to age, there are recommendations for managing nocturia. These include limiting fluid intake in the hours leading up to bedtime to help reduce the frequency of nocturnal bathroom visits.