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Urinary frequency


A frequent need to urinate is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of several urinary diseases. There is an abnormally high frequency of urination, without the daily amount of urine being increased. An overly frequent need to urinate is equivalent to more than 8 urinations in 24 hours or the need to get up more than once a night to urinate, which is called nocturia. Among the causes, a number of inflammatory diseases can cause urinary frequency such as urethritis, cystitis, and prostatitis in men with prostatic diseases, including benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate cancer. Diseases causing an overactive detrusor muscle, the muscle used in urination, are also common causes. Similarly, in the case of an incomplete emptying of the bladder (called residual urine), the urge to urinate comes more frequently and urination in smaller quantities is more common throughout the day. Finally, psychological origins are also possible.


The symptoms of urinary frequency are:
  • numerous urinations during the day;
  • frequent waking up at night to urinate (more than twice);

Meanwhile, other signs of dysfunction may be present and should be sought such as the need to strain to urinate, urine leakage, burning: these signs will guide the search for a cause for urinary frequency.


The diagnosis of high urinary frequency consists of examining the patient as soon as the daily number of urination surpasses 8 times a day or two times at night. A physical examination of the pelvic region (rectal and vaginal in women), a uro-genital examination and neurological examination are performed. A urine sample will help identify a possible infectious origin. Often urodynamics are performed: it corresponds to the analysis of urination (duration, strength of the jet emitted, amount) associated with a post-micturition ultrasound to check if there is urine in the bladder. An ultrasound of the urinary tract and prostate in men is frequently performed as well as cystoscopy, an examination to visualize the inside of the bladder.


To treat urinary frequency, treatment of the cause is necessary. Infection should be treated by any antibiotics. In the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia, medications to decrease the volume of the prostate are associated with medications decreasing resistance to the flow of urine, alpha-blockers. In the case of the most complicated mechanical dysfunctions, surgical treatment is considered.