Frequent urination can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diabetes, urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis, or an enlarged prostate. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, especially diuretics. Sometimes just changing how and when you take your medication can make a big difference, Braxton says.
Even if there isn’t an underlying condition causing your urination problem, that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Taking the following steps can help reduce your need to pee all the time.
1. Drink water wisely
If you drink a lot during the day, cutting back can significantly reduce the frequency of urination. Many people drink the often-recommended eight glasses of water a day, but there’s no science behind that number, says Karyn Eilber, board-certified urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“If you have a tall person who works outdoors and sweats, they probably need more than that,” says Eilber. “But a short person who sits at a desk all day probably needs a lot less than that. I spend half my day telling people they’re drinking too much fluid. However, if you don’t drink not enough fluids can also trigger more trips to the bathroom, says Aleece Fosnight, a board-certified urology physician assistant at Aeroflow Urology near Asheville, North Carolina. Urine is made up of waste products and is very irritating to the body,” says Fosnight. “The more concentrated your urine, the more irritating it is, and it makes you want to go for it.”
So how much should you drink? It’s best to let your thirst be your guide, but aim for a minimum of 40 fluid ounces a day, or about five glasses. The color of your urine should be light to medium yellow.
2. Change your diet
Giving up foods and drinks known to cause bladder problems can help you urinate less often.
Perhaps the most well-known culprit is coffee. In one study, men who drank two cups of coffee a day were 72% more likely to have bladder problems, including frequent urination and leakage. Many other studies show the same association in women.
Other known bladder irritants include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, high acid foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated drinks including seltzer water unsweetened.
Experts recommend giving up all of these foods for two weeks, then reintroducing them into your diet one at a time to see which are triggers.
3. Get out of the habit of going “just in case”
Going to the bathroom before you feel the urge can actually make the frequency of urination worse, Braxton says.
Here’s why: Most people start to feel like their bladder is full about 10 to 15 minutes before they really need to go, Fosnight says. If you go there regularly before this feeling kicks in, the nerves in your bladder will adapt over time and start signaling to your brain that you need to go sooner.
“When your bladder is half full, you start to feel the same sensation as before when it was three-quarters full,” she says. “This ability line is decreasing.”
4. Try to hold back when you feel the need to.