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Too many nightly toilet visits may impede health, productivity – study

Nocturia (excessive urination at night), may be linked to sleep deprivation, poor health and lower work productivity, according to recent research.

The condition, which a study shows affects one in three people over 30, is one of the most common urinary problems, yet only a fraction seek medical help.

A US study notes that nocturia is often accompanied by an overactive bladder, not explainable by urinary tract infections or other identifiable disorders.

“About half of patients with daytime urinary urgency will also have nocturia. Those with …three or more nocturnal voids per night have a significantly higher overall mortality rate than the general population,” according to the study.

It says nocturia leads to sleep deprivation, which may cause exhaustion, mood changes, somnolence, impaired productivity, increased risk of falls and accidents, fatigue, lethargy, inattentiveness, and cognitive dysfunction. 

“…Over 40% of people who have a night-time awakening will have trouble going back to sleep. It is also associated with decreased physical health, obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease”. 

The study adds that nocturia has a significant financial impact due to lost productivity and sick leave “primarily as a result of preventable falls, fractures, and associated injuries.”

Dr Craig Mamitele from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, has advised those experiencing frequent urination at night to consult a urologist.

“There’s a number of possible causes – either medical or urological. This includes conditions which lead to fluids in the interstitial space (e.g. lower limb edema) which at night move into the intravascular system. This results in increased filtration and urine formation. Those with snoring problems and sleep apnoea are also prone to nocturia.”

Mamitele says a urologist will identify the underlying conditions, which may include lifestyle changes. Drinking fluids at night, alcohol, smoking and caffeine may all contribute to nocturia.

“Many people think nocturia is due to ageing when in fact it is a condition that can be treated. Contact The Urology Hospital, Pretoria for a consultation. Effective treatment may dramatically improve sleeping, cognitive function and general wellbeing,” he added.

The Urology Hospital is the only specialised urological centre in Africa with more than 20 urologists in one location.

For more information, contact 012 423-4000 or SMS the word INFO and your email address to 33000 (SMS charged at R1.50).


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Urologists are highly trained specialist surgeons who use both medication and surgery as part of a comprehensive approach to care for men and women and children with urological problems. 


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