Frequent Urination Problems: What They Are and What They Mean

In many instances patients suffer from a constellation of urinary symptoms that they may escape their notice. Frequent urination problems are sometimes caused by an underlying disease pathology affecting the nervous system as a part of the whole body. Diseases such as diabetes mellitus and other causes of peripheral neuropathies are commonly associated with frequent urination problems.

For starters, diabetes, especially the poorly controlled or undiagnosed variety, causes an increase in urine volume, which is often associated with frequent urination problems. In children, it may translate to loss of previously acquired bladder control, especially at night. The new onset of urinary incontinence in many cases alerts the physician to an abnormally increased urine volume when the patient is a child. Because the urine is also rich in glucose, it may act like a culture media favouring growth of bacteria leading to urinary tract infections. Repeated lower urinary tract infections, namely cystitis or an inflammation of the bladder, is sometimes the first clue hinting towards the diagnosis of diabetes in many patients.

Urinary tract infections, in and of themselves, cause frequent urination problems, which include burning micturition, pubic pain, the presence of blood in urine (hematuria) or voiding cloudy urine (pyuria). One of the most common symptoms of urinary tract infection is an involuntary urine leakage following a sudden, severe urge to urinate. This condition is known as urge incontinence, which is caused by an overactive or irritated bladder. Urge incontinence may occur in association with other conditions such as Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s and other neurological problems because of the associated disturbed nervous control over the bladder voiding. In such patients, the frequent urinary problems and complaints are accompanied by other major neurological symptoms and signs which are easily detected through history taking and physical examination.

Another potential cause for frequent urinary problems in males is prostate gland disease. The tube which carries the urine from the bladder to the outside, called the urethra, passes through the prostate. The prostatic urethra may be compressed by an enlarged prostatic gland leading to difficulty starting urination, a weak urine stream, straining while urinating in order to bypass the obstruction and an inability to completely empty the bladder. Men suffering from benign prostatic enlargement commonly suffer from dribbling of urine after micturition ends, increased frequency of night time urine, a stream of urine that starts and stops repeatedly during micturition, and an increased risk for urinary tract infections.

It is therefore obvious that frequent urination problems may be the presentation for other, more general diseases, not necessarily diseases of the bladder or the pelvic floor. Also, it is interesting to note that stress incontinence is the most likely type of incontinence to cause frequent urination problems caused by a bladder or sphincter malfunction. Physicians evaluate patients with frequent urination problems using an integrative approach, which examines all the bodily systems in search of a cause. The doctor usually investigates by taking a thorough health history and detailed physical examination supplemented by laboratory tests as needed.

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