Is it normal to get up in the night to urinate?

Getting up in the night to pee may be abnormal for one person, but a couple of trips a night to the loo may be completely normal for another. It depends on a variety of factors that vary significantly from person to person: what fluids you drink, how much you drink, etc. However, if you’ve noticed an increase in the amount of times you wake up needing to go, or you feel it’s affecting your sleep and energy levels it might be a good idea to get everything checked out with your affordable private GP: London Doctors Clinic.

Why do I get up in the night to pee?

Nocturia - waking up at night to urinate - can come from problems in a few different parts of your urine system. This means that it can be really important to keep a diary of how much and what you’re drinking, and when you’re having which urinary symptoms to help determine the cause. Let’s look at the different causes as a journey through your urinary system.

Firstly, the kidneys filter your blood in really high volumes, day and night, and are responsible for fluid balance - including blood volume - throughout the body. They are controlled by lots of different factors including hormones - chemical messengers in the blood sending information and signals to other parts of the body. If there is a slight imbalance in some of the hormones which work on the kidney, which is very common as you get older, then they may either produce more urine, or may produce the same amount of urine day and night.

kidneys nocturia

The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and removing excess products and fluid out of the body as urine

A common hormonal cause of nocturia is diabetes, which can be tested for with simple blood glucose testing. Otherwise, if the doctor suspects your kidneys are responsible for your nocturia, they may recommend a kidney function test, to measure how well your kidneys are working.

Some medications to increase the amount of fluid your kidneys take out of the blood, for example diuretics, you may notice nocturia. You can always discuss the benefits and disadvantages, and any side effects of medication with your GP.

diabetes nocturia

Glucose blood tests can be performed to test for diabetes - a condition that can cause increased urinary frequency and nocturia if undiagnosed or poorly controlled


Next, the bladder stores urine and let’s you know when it’s time to go! If you have to go lots of times in a night and you have other symptoms such as difficulty completely emptying the bladder, pain or poor stream you may have a problem with your bladder or an infection. There are lots of reasons for which you are less able to store urine in your bladder, and these can include pregnancy, anxiety and lots of different medications. Your doctor will be able to help you to work out what is happening in your case, and what might help for you.

The urine then passes through the urethra, and in men this goes past the prostate. The prostate often enlarges as you get older, this is called benign prostatic hyperplasia and affects a lot of people with symptoms including nocturia. It’s not normally a cause for concern, but there are some prostate tests that your doctor can discuss with you and perform if necessary. These tests have their merits and disadvantages, with regard to investigate the possibility of prostate cancer, a symptom of which is nocturia.

Prostate cancer screening nocturia

Men over the age of 50 are advised to undergo screening for prostate cancer - a symptom of which is nocturia

Any infection in your urinary system such as an urinary tract infection (UTI) can also cause nocturia and other urinary symptoms. If you suspect a urinary infection, symptoms include pain on urination, and increased frequency of urination, it's a good idea to get this checked out by a doctor.

Another potential cause of nocturia comes from the circulation itself. If you have lots to drink before you go to bed then there will be more fluid that needs removing by the kidneys in the night! Some people may also notice they have puffy ankles during the day due to fluid retention (oedema). This fluid then returns to the circulation at night upon lying down, and will then be removed by the kidneys and excreted in the urine during the night - hence the need to urinate in the night. This symptom of ankle swelling is definitely worth getting checked out by a doctor, to check that everything’s working well with your circulation and blood pressure!

Nocturia can lead to sleep deprivation, making you feel exhausted throughout the day. and it can be very irritating to you and affect those you live with. Your doctor will be able to help you to make any lifestyle or medication changes that might help, and offer you support with the tiredness. They will be able to run a variety of private blood tests to check that your kidneys are all in order, and to check your urine for an infection. If necessary, the doctor can provide a private specialist referral to an urologist for further investigation.

Nocturia tiredness lethargy exhausted

Nocturia can cause significant sleep disturbance, and leave people feeling tired during the day


Overall, if having to get up in the night to urinate affecting you, book in for a private GP appointment at London Doctors Clinic today to get it checked out.