How Anxiety Causes You To Urinate More Is Explained By A Urologist
Its no secret that theres something about anxiety that causes more trips to the toilet to take a leak.
But whats really going on here? I was inspired to write this article, with a urologist as an expert source, due to my own experience with this situation.
Some years ago I was up every 90 minutes or less overnight to empty my bladder.
And every minute that I lie awake, I was consumed with enormous anxiety, because while I lie there in the darkness, I kept anticipating that at any moment, Id begin hearing that awful thumping sound of my parents German shepherd having a seizure as a result of an incurable brain tumor.
I was staying with them to take care of this dog, which I loved. The anxiety was torture.
Anxiety or nervousness can cause frequent urination, says Kenneth Peters, MD, chief of urology for Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI.
The exact reason is not known, however. We see this in people of all ages.
The brain is involved in processing signals from the bladder. This is how we know when we need to urinate.
Normally, we can suppress this sensation until it is convenient to void. However, it is not uncommon when people are nervous or upset, that both the bladder and bowel become more active.
What Are The Signs Of A Uti
In addition to frequent urination, there may be other signs to suggest a UTI. This includes pain on passing urine, feeling like you need to go to the toilet very quickly to pass urine , pain over the bladder , and foul smelling or cloudy/bloody urine. In severe cases, there may also be fever, chills, shivers, and loin pain.
The reason why UTIs cause urinary frequency is because the bacteria cling onto the bladder lining. This causes inflammation, where the bodys white blood cells trying to fight infection release chemicals that irritate the nerve endings supplying the bladder lining. The nerves feed this information back to the brain, which thinks, incorrectly, that your bladder is full and that you need to pass urine, so you go to the toilet but may have little or no urine to pass.
Because the inflammation in the bladder is constantly going on, you feel a frequent urge to pass urine. It is also this inflammation that is responsible for the stinging sensation when passing urine in UTIs. Frequent urination does not necessarily distinguish UTIs as being the cause, however, as the frequent urination symptom can come on quickly or slowly, and you may or may not experience pain. There is no set pattern of urination that is a deciding factor for UTIs.
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Address The Core Fear Underneath
Some kid are just super sensitive to their bladder but like with most anxiety and OCD issues there might be a deeper problem.
If your child is worried about being trapped and not being able to pee you want to address those incorrect assumptions. Problem-solve with your kid and talk about what they can do in various situations if a need arises.
If your child is worried about losing control talk to them about #1 the likelihood of that happening and #2 what is the worst that can happen.
Sometimes accepting the worst-case scenario and having a plan for what to do is enough to alleviate some anxiety around it. Also, assess whether you are dealing with Social Anxiety. A core theme with social anxiety is the fear of embarrassment and criticism. If Social Anxiety is at the root of the issue, teaching them skills through my online Crush Social Anxiety class.
If your child is worried about the dark or bad guys address their fears. I have a zillion articles, podcast episodes and YouTube videos on this topic. I also have a whole online class to help parents help their anxious kids called How to Teach Your Kids to Crush Anxiety.
Why Do You Have To Pee When You’re Nervous
If you get the urge to pee when you’re nervous, you’re not alone.
It’s common to feel the need to void your bladder when you’re feeling tense, said Dr. Tom Chi, an associate professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco.
“When in doubt, just do what your body says, and go to the bathroom you’ll probably be OK,” Chi told Live Science.
In a typical situation, when you’re not feeling nervous or anxious, the bladder is relaxed as it fills with urine from the kidneys. In contrast, the bladder’s external sphincter is tightly closed to make sure that urine doesn’t leak out, Chi said.
A healthy bladder can hold up to 2 cups of urine. Once the muscular sac is full, “the bladder sends a signal through the spine up to the brain that says, ‘OK, I’m full I got to go,'” Chi said. Once this signal is received and the person is ready, the bladder contracts, and the external sphincter muscle relaxes, letting a stream of pee flow.
Doctors aren’t entirely sure why people tend feel the call of nature during times of anxiety, largely because the need to pee is controlled by many factors, including the nerves along the spinal cord, the brain and your emotions. But researchers have two good guesses for why this phenomenon happens, Chi said.
The other idea is that when you’re nervous, your muscles tense up, “and one of those muscles may be the bladder,” Chi said. “When that happens, it makes you want to pee.”
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Were More In Tune With Our Body When Were Anxious
When we feel anxiety, we also tend to become hyper-aware of our own body and how we feel in our own skin, health experts suspect. For example, every heartbeat may feel like your chest is pounding, you may zero in on your breathing or you could have an overwhelming urge to urinate.
apply a selective filter and focus on the feeling that theyre going to pee, when in fact, objectively, they might not actually pee or pee as much as they think, Nadkarni said.
In other words, yes, you may have to pee but its probably not as much of an emergency as you think it is. Your brain is just tricking you in the moment.
Other Causes Of Frequent Urination
There are a lot of other causes of frequent urination, including sexually transmitted disease , caused by bacteria such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. These bacteria could be introduced into the bladder via sexual intercourse and cause a UTI. This would cause frequent urination in the same way that E. coli does. However, with STIs there may be other symptoms suggestive that they are the cause, such as abnormal vaginal discharge , and persistent lower abdominal pain with pain in the ovaries.
Anxiety can also cause frequent urination. When people are stressed or anxious, our sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is where sympathetic nerves and hormones, such as cortisol, are elevated. This sends messages to the brain to indicate we need to pass urine more frequently
Pelvic inflammatory disease , an infection of the Fallopian tubes and female reproductive tract, can also be associated with UTIs. This is because the bacteria that cause PID can also be introduced into the bladder, causing UTIs. In general, these are the same bacteria that cause STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other symptoms to suggest PID would be persistent lower abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, and persistent fevers.
Other conditions, including diabetes, Parkinsons, stroke, and MS can all cause frequent urination, so if you have been diagnosed with one of these or showing symptoms not related to UTIs alongside your frequent urination, do go and get checked out by a doctor.
Urinary Tract Or Kidney Problems
Few things are as frustrating as a dog peeing on the bed. Whether its due to the urinary tract or kidney problems, or just that he cant quite make it downstairs to the outside, there are plenty of reasons that your dog might need to use the bathroom at night.
First, remove the urine by either blotting it with some paper towels or some old rags or using an enzymatic cleaner that will break down the proteins that cause the odor.
Dogs can also struggle with other types of urinary diseases, including inflammation of the bladder , crystals in the urine, kidney stones, structural abnormalities, kidney disease, and even tumors. Some are treated by medications, supplements, or changes to diet.
Peeing Because Of Anxiety
Frequent urination may also be a symptom of anxiety.
If it happens before a big performance that you have been dreading for a long time, it likely is because you were nervous. Although scientists still do not fully understand why anxiety triggers frequent urination.
One theory that experts have suggested has to do with the bodys fear system, also known as the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight response is connected to the bladder so, when it is activated, you start to feel that it is time to pee. It overrides the part of your brain that determines whether you need to run to the bathroom or not.
Other experts believe that the bodys fight-or-flight response makes the bladder work harder than usual. It produces more urine than usual which makes you pee more often.
Anxiety also can increase your awareness of your own body. That is why you can almost hear your heart pounding or feel your own skin when you are nervous. You may also get an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom.
It happens because your mind applies a selective filter that zeroes in on one sensation. It just so happens that your mind went to your bladder.
You may have to urinate, but your mind thinks that it is an emergency even though it is not. Your brain is just tricking you and making you go to the bathroom.
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Can Anxiety Cause Bladder Issues
When youre anxious, the muscles tense up and your body puts pressure on areas like your bladder and your abdomen. This pressure may also cause you to need to urinate more often. Those with anxiety may also feel more physically tired from all of their anxiety symptoms, and this too may lead to more frequent urination.
Is Peeing Every Hour Normal
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person should urinate somewhere between between six and eight times in a 24-hour period. While an individual is occasionally likely go more frequently than that, daily incidences of urinating more than eight times may signal a concern for too-frequent urination.
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Fear Of Losing Control And Being Embarrassed
Another common anxiety theme is the fear of losing control. This is often tied to a fear of throwing up in public but can also include the fear of having an accident. When you are already hypersensitive to your bodily functions, the fear of having an accident can be extremely high. To avoid any possibility of an accident, kids often become obsessed with emptying their bladder.
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What Can You Do To Manage Urinary Frequency
First of all, it is extremely important to ensure there isnt a medical problem causing it, and your doctor will discuss any other symptoms with you and look at your medical history. Examples of conditions that can cause urinary frequency include diabetes, MS, Parkinsons, dementia, stroke, bladder tumours and bladder stones.
If your urinary frequency is determined to be secondary to your experience of anxiety, it can help to visit a licensed counsellor to look at both the underlying cause of your anxiety as well as getting cognitive behaviour tips for the management of secondary symptoms.
Other simple lifestyle changes can reduce your need to visit the bathroom so frequently, such as removing bladder irritants like caffeine and alcohol, reducing your weight if you are overweight, and stopping smoking.
Finally, since humans are able to learn new behaviours and responses, it is possible to train your bladder to not respond to your emotional nervous systems signals. Bladder training, for example, is a reliable technique that has been shown to improve symptoms,6,7 and involves bringing back your desire to pee into voluntary control. It is done in a stepwise fashion over time.
If you are finding you need to pee all the time, and believe it could be related to anxiety, then it is important to visit your GP, as there are plenty of solutions that can help. Incontinence is a very common condition, and there is no need to just put up with it.
How Anxiety Can Affect The Bladder
Research has shown there is a strong correlation between anxiety and the bladder, although the exact link is not entirely clear. The most likely explanation is your flight-or-fight response. When activated, your flight-or-fight response triggers your heart, muscles, lungseverything you need to either fight or flee. While your brain is focusing on these vital organs, its less focused on functions such as bladder control. For some people, this means feeling the urge to urinate but for others, it can mean having difficulty urinating.
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What Is Causing My Child To Urinate Frequently
Sometimes toilet-trained children begin to urinate more frequently than normal during the day, as often as every few minutes. This condition is called pollakiuria and can be caused by stress other times there is no identifiable cause. The condition is usually harmless and will resolve within a few weeks or months.
If your child experiences pain or burning with urination, leaking of urine, changes in bowel movements, or any other symptoms, then frequent urination is usually attributable to another medical condition and parents should consult with the childs pediatrician. If the child experiences none of these additional symptoms and their doctor also suspects they have pollakiurua, the St. Louis Childrens Hospital suggests that parents can reassure children that they can wait longer between trips to the bathroom and nothing bad will happen.