Frequent urination

Most adults go to the loo around six or seven times a day but the amount varies between individuals and depends on lots of things such as how much liquid you drink, what you eat and how much you sweat.

By Wallace Health I Medically reviewed by Adrian Roberts.
Page last reviewed: October 2018 I Next review due: October 2021


Suddenly needing to urinate a lot more often for no obvious reason, having to go urgently or feeling that you need to go when you’ve only just been may mean you have an underlying health problem.

Causes of frequent urination

Needing to urinate often is a symptom that affects both men and women and becomes more likely from middle age onwards.

Certain drugs, including caffeine and alcohol, can make you urinate more frequently.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can often cause frequent urination. They can affect your bladder, kidneys or urethra (the tube that takes urine from your bladder out your body). Other symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Feeling unwell
  • Pain in your lower abdomen or around your side or back
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Blood in your urine

Other underlying conditions can also cause frequent urination, including

  • Enlarged prostate or prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate gland
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Kidney stones or bladder stones
  • Overactive bladder syndrome – can make you suddenly need to go to the loo urgently, even when your bladder isn’t full
  • Neurological problems, for instance a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can all affect your nervous system, including the nerves that control your bladder
  • Cancer of the prostate gland or bladder
  • Interstitial cystitis – painful inflammation of your bladder
  • Fibroids

You may also feel the need to urinate more if you’re feeling anxious as your body’s natural stress response tries to eliminate waste in order to deal with a challenge.

If you’re pregnant, added pressure on your pelvic floor muscles can also make it harder to control your bladder.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms

You can book an appointment with a Spire private GP today.

Getting a diagnosis for frequent urination

See your doctor if you need to urinate more often than usual with no obvious explanation.

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history, and may do the following tests:

  • Urine tests to check for infections
  • Blood tests for the function of various organs
  • A physical examination, which may include inserting a gloved finger into your bottom to check for a possible enlarged prostate in men
  • X-rays or scans to see inside your body
  • A cystoscopy, which involves inserting a thin, flexible tube through your urethra and into your bladder to check for potential problems

Treatments for frequent urination

These will vary, according to the cause of the problem. They may include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Lifestyle changes and bladder training to improve control
  • Changing prescription medication if the cause is a side effect of a particular drug
  • Drug or surgical treatments for specific conditions such as an enlarged prostate, diabetes, kidney stones, bladder stones, neurological problems or cancer