DO you ever wake up in the middle of the night desperate for the toilet?
Many put it down to a sign of growing older, but experts warn it could actually be something more serious.
Getty – Contributor Getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night could be a sign of deadly disease, experts warn
One in three adults over the age of 30 get up during the night to pee, with that increasing to two in three adults over the age of 65.
Professor of urology Philip Van Kerrebroeck, warns that it could be a condition known as nocturia.What is nocturia?
Nocturia sufferers will often have to use the loo more than once in the night.
Prof Kerrebroeck, editor of the nocturia research centre, said: “People think that getting up in the night to go to the toilet is just part of getting older, but it doesn’t need to be.
“Poor sleep can seriously damage your health so people who are getting up several times a night should go to their doctor to see what’s causing it.
People think that getting up in the night to go to the toilet is just part of getting older, but it doesn’t need to bePhilip Van Kerrebroeckprofessor of urology
“The good news is that nocturia can be treated so you don’t need to suffer in silence.”
That’s not only irritating but can be disruptive to sleep.
A broken night’s sleep has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, weakened immune systems, heart disease and even some cancers.
It can also cause mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and psychosis.
Prof Kerrebroeck said lack of sleep can impact all forms of mental functioning, making it much harder to concentrate, remember things and pick up new skills or facts.
What about polyuria?
Nocturia can be caused by an overproduction of urine, which can be a symptom for more serious conditions.
Excessive urination, called polyuria, is when you wee more than 2.5 litres per day.
This can happen because you are drinking excessive amounts of fluid, or it could be a symptom of something far more serious – type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that nocturia can be treated so you don’t need to suffer in silencePhilip Van Kerrebroeckprofessor of urology
It can also be a sign of a bladder infection, kidney stones, kidney failure and an enlarged prostate in men.
A person who has type 2 diabetes has too much sugar in their blood.
The kidneys react to that by flushing it out of the blood and into the urine, which results in the need to pee more often.
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Similarly, if you have problems with your kidneys, such as stones, then you will wee more frequently and the problem can change the way the kidneys operate.
If you often wee more than you think is normal and start to suffer back pain, weight loss, night sweats, leg weakness or fever you should see your GP.
What can be done to treat nocturia?Nocturia is where you frequently wake up in the night and need to pass urine. It often increases with age. It is common with elderly people who may be getting up twice a night but more frequent visits to the toilet may indicate a problem that can be treated.
Reduce the amount you drink before you go to bed. For example, have your last drink at 8pm instead of 10pm. However, make sure you are still drinking the recommended daily amount. This is six to eight cups of fluid a day – about three to four pints or two litres.Reducing the amount you drink does not help, unless you currently drink large amounts.
Have fewer drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee, chocolate and cola. These can irritate your bladder and change your sleep patterns, as can alcohol.
If you regularly have swollen ankles, make sure you sit or lie down for about an hour during the day. Raise your legs and feet so they are at, or above, the level of your heart. It may also help to wear support stockings.
Some medicines make your body produce more urine, or promote its flow. In many cases this is how the medicine works to treat the condition (for example, water tablets for high blood pressure). If you are unsure if your medicines could be causing nocturia, ask yourdoctor. Please do not stop taking your regular medicines without the advice of your doctor.
Consider whether anything is disturbing your sleep. If your room is too light or too cold, this may wake you up. If you have painful conditions that disturb your sleep consult with your GP. Reduce any naps you take during the day to see if this helps you to sleep better at night. Also, avoid stimulants like drinks containing caffeine before you go to bed.
Source: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust
Getty – Contributor Waking up in the middle of the night is not only disruptive to sleep but has been has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, weakened immune systems, heart disease and even some cancers
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