People Who Go to the Bathroom Too Much at Night Have a Condition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Rant 20

Okay, everybody, it's TMI time. For as long as I can remember, I've gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. If it's only once, I consider it a good night. Some nights, it can be three, four times. Some nights, I get up several times before I fall asleep as a "precaution," but then still have to get up once or twice and interrupt my sleep. In fact, where a bathroom is in an apartment is a dealbreaker for me. Once, I lived in an apartment that had a bathroom down a flight of stairs. I agonized over whether to live there, and finally decided to give it a try. I thought maybe my bladder would adjust. It didn't. Little did I realize that I have something called "nocturnia," which affects one third of the population.

People with nocturnia get up once or more during the night to go to the bathroom. I have to confess I thought what I dealt with most people did -- despite living with a man who never got up in the middle of the night. I thought he was just lucky -- or an incredibly deep sleeper.

Now there's news that this condition might not just affect my sleep -- but my work productivity. According to a study, people with nocturnia are 24% less productive at work than those without. Which I find kind of offensive, frankly, but I'm not going to lie and say that there aren't mornings when I'm incredibly tired. Usually this isn't from the getting up, but the fact that I also find it difficult to get back to sleep after I'm up.

I've mentioned up my pee-addled nights to various doctors -- all of them just looked at me blankly. A couple even laughed. One told me I just needed to "train" my bladder. (My bladder did not respond to treats and a clicker.)

For awhile, I stopped drinking anything after 6 p.m, but it made no difference. Kegel exercises did nothing. I don't have a UTI. I don't drink coffee or tea. There are times I've had nothing to drink and STILL gone to the bathroom three or four times! I may have overactive bladder syndrome, but when I mention my problem to doctors they look bewildered and never offer me any medications (I can't believe they get paid so much).

I have to make sure I don't drink before I go on long car trips, before I get on the subway, or even before I'm leaving a restaurant and fear I may not get home in the next 15-20 minutes. There are days when I walk into a store and turn around and walk back out because I know in half an hour I'll have to pee and I won't have time to shop. I dread plays with no intermissions. I'm not exactly proud that "Can I use your bathroom?" is the first thing I say to people when I go their house. Even if I've just met them.

Of course, New York, which has no public toilets, makes this condition a nightmare. Thank god for Starbucks.

Researching ways to help nocturnia brought up nothing I hadn't already tried, but apparently antidiuretics can help. I'm reluctant to be on medication that might have other side effects, but maybe I'll have to cave in and get something, especially since this condition worsens as you get older. Diapers, here I come!

Do you have this condition? If you've got any advice, let me know!


Image via Tracy Hunter/Flickr

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climb... climbz4coffee

Ugh, I have that at night. It was even worse when I was prego obviously, but sometimes if I have pms or too much to drink, I can go like every 10 minutes at night! So annoying. Not sure what would work besides sleep meds so you sleep through having to go lol. 

poshkat poshkat

Ugh I hate that! I pee as a precaution 3 or 4 times before I go to bed every night. Like you I was always told to "train my bladder", what a crock of shit.

vball... vbally101

Hahaha amazing - I went to the dr. for that same reason and got the same look - "You probably have overactive bladder. Just don't drink at night." Thannnnks, that hasn't helped at all!

nonmember avatar S.McKay

I have had this problem since I was a small child. I was told I would grow out of it. I am 44, so no luck. I was told don't drink, try to ignore the urge ...ignore it, WTF? Aren't we told not to hold it in as we can hurt something? One idiot told me the average bladder can hold 2 cups...mine must be a thimble

Sara B. Ware

SO with you on this.  Both in the 3-4 times a night(mare) trips to the loo, and the man who sleeps like the proverbial log.  Get this particular TMI news out there, sista!

nonmember avatar Allycat

I am the same way. Thanks for sharing the news. I thought I was the only one who would go a few times before I fell asleep and still go 3 or more times a night. It's very frustrating. I also can't fall asleep unless I just used the bathroom. I feel that in some way it will make it better but it never does.

Rando... Randomlady

Have any of you ladies tried cranberry pills? I know they help with bladder infections and the like and this problem was upsetting me so much, I was spending a precautionary hour in the bathroom just trying to pee before bed and then still waking up every hour or 2. I tried the cranberry pills for a week and then I was amazed how I was able to sleep at night. It was magical, I almost heard a choir upon waking. Supposedly they help strengthen the walls to your bladder so you won't feel the need so often or something like that. Anyways I'm a believer after getting some sleep.

nonmember avatar SA

My physical therapist told me to train my bladder, and it helps somewhat. Basically, you have to try to do deep breathing to relax the bladder and just not go. But I still never sleep through the night. I am used to it. I was on medicine for an overactive bladder and I would still pee pretty frequently.

LostS... LostSoul88

I think 90% of America as this

nonmember avatar Danny

Haha.i dont only have this at night but i have it during the day.all the time every 5-10 minutes.i just moved in with my bio mom & my mom thinks im crazy.i have yet to go to the doctor.ive had whatever it mught be since 2 months ago when i saw a hot afraid now and since then ive been using the bathroom the way im danny and im 15 years old.FML!!!

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