Originally published on: April 6th, 2017. Last modified on May 6th, 2021

What is Nocturia?

It can be quite normal to wake once or twice during the night to pass water. If you have to do so more often than that it can become both annoying and tiring. The need to pass water during the night is called Nocturia.

Although nocturia may be associated with the normal ageing process, it might be caused by a medical problem which can be treated, so it is a good idea to report a frequent need to go to the toilet during the night to your doctor, continence nurse, or specialist physiotherapist, particularly if the problem has come on quite quickly and recently.

Once you have made an appointment, your healthcare professional will assess you. They may ask you some of the following questions:

  • 你多久上一次厕所排尿一次?
  • How often do you leak urine?
  • 你什么时候漏尿?
  • What medication do you take?
  • What do you normally eat or drink?
  • Is it painful/ uncomfortable when you pass urine?
  • How many times do you get up at night?
  • 你尿床过吗?

It would be a good idea to keep a record of your bladder activity for a few days before your appointment with your doctor or nurse. Keep a record for at least 3 days. To download our Bladder DiaryClick Here

Why Does Nocturia Affect Older People More Than Others?

这有几个原因。一个简单的原因是,随着年龄的增长,膀胱失去了弹性。另一个原因是,在以后的生活中,你更有可能遭受其他可能影响膀胱的疾病。The following are some of the reasons which can cause nocturia and which are more common in older people:




The kidneys filter your blood as it passes through them and collect waste products and excess fluids from around your body. As the waste products and fluids are collected the kidneys produce urine, which then passes to your bladder, where it is collected.

As you get older, your heart and circulatory system may become less efficient, so that some fluids are left behind in the body’s tissues, especially around the ankles, because it is harder for the circulation to pump fluids from there. When you lie down at night it becomes easier for the circulatory system to work. The fluid is absorbed back into your blood and filtered out through the kidneys, which then send it to the bladder as urine. This means that your bladder fills as you sleep much more quickly than it normally would.


The prostate gland becomes enlarged in almost all men as they get older. This is often called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). More than half of all men over the age of 60 and 80% of all men over 80 have enlarged prostate glands. (This is not the same as prostate cancer.)

When the prostate becomes enlarged it begins to restrict the bladder outlet, with the result that you have difficulty passing water. Because your bladder has difficulty squeezing the urine out, it may not empty completely. This incomplete emptying means it takes a much shorter time for the bladder to fill up again, so that you will have to pass water more frequently. For more information about the prostate visit our prostate page.

Other Causes Of Nocturia

Nocturia can also be caused by several medical conditions which have nothing to do with age:

  • It can be a result of a kidney or bladder condition, such as kidney stones, a urinary tract or bladder infection, or an overactive bladder.
  • Pregnancy – as the foetus grows inside the womb the pressure on your bladder increases so that it isn’t able to hold as much urine as normal.
  • A heart condition can result in a weakened circulatory system and could have the same effect.
  • Diabetes can lead to bladder problems such as nocturia.
  • Drugs – nocturia can be a side effect of some drugs. Check with your doctor to see if any medicines you have been prescribed might be the cause of your nocturia, but do not stop taking any medicine unless you have been advised to do so.
  • Constipation can cause the bowel to distend and put pressure on the bladder.
  • And, of course, excessive fluid intake can cause you to need to pass water at inconvenient times.

Further Information

If you are concerned about your problem and it is starting to affect your day-to-day life make an appointment to see your doctor, continence nurse or specialist physiotherapist. A continence nurse and specialist physiotherapist are healthcare professionals who specialise in bladder and bowel problems.

You can find out about treatments byclicking here. Consult with your doctor to come up with an appropriate treatment for you, as all cases differ.