If you find your day interrupted by constant bathroom breaks, you are not alone—frequent urination is a common symptom with a variety of causes. But when is ‘frequent’ too frequent? And when should you be concerned?
Frequent urination can be linked to several prostate conditions that place pressure on the urinary system. Some of these conditions, like an enlarged prostate, are benign. However, they often share symptoms with prostate cancer—which means it is important to let your physician know if you have any concerns.
“Frequent urination isn’t always a cause for concern, but it’s an important symptom to pay attention to,” said Dr. Brian Heller, medical oncologist and president of Southern Cancer Center. “If it is connected to a serious health issue like cancer, determining this as early as possible may mean treatment is more effective.”
What is Frequent Urination?
Most people urinate about seven to eight times a day and up to two times at night. If you find that you need to pee significantly more than that, or you are using the bathroom once every 30 minutes to an hour, you may be experiencing frequent urination. If you drink a lot of water throughout the day, or you take a medication with frequent urination as a side effect, needing to pee more often may still be considered normal.
Average urination at night can change as you age. In your 40s and 50s, you may find you need to get up once a night to pee. In your 60s and 70s, this may change to twice a night, while people in their 80s or older may find themselves getting up three times a night.
Please keep in mind that these are averages, and urinating more or less than average may be typical for your body. If you notice you are suddenly taking more bathroom breaks during the day, or your sleep is newly disrupted by frequently waking up to pee, your frequent urination may have an underlying cause.
What are the Urinary Tract Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer does not always cause symptoms, but many symptoms patients do experience are connected to the urinary system. If your urination symptoms are caused by prostate cancer, you may experience:
- Frequent urination, especially urination that occurs at night.
- A painful or burning sensation during urination.
- Difficulty starting urination.
- Difficulty stopping urination.
- A weak or interrupted flow of urination.
- Blood in your urine.
Some patients may also experience unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting, new pain or swelling around the lower body (particularly in the back or hips), and abnormal bowel habits. New onset of erectile dysfunction or a painful or burning sensation during ejaculation may also be linked to prostate cancer. If you have a fever or are experiencing vomiting, pain in your lower back or side, blood in your urine, or penile discharge, see your physician as soon as possible.
Prostate cancer risk increases for men older than 65. Men who have an immediate family member like a father or brother who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer as well. You can speak to your physician about your screening options if you have any concerns.
I’m Experiencing Frequent Urination. How Do I Find the Cause?
If you do notice you are peeing more frequently, see your doctor about your concerns. To help your physician best determine the root cause, take note of:
- How long you have been experiencing
- Any medication you are currently taking, have recently started taking, or have recently stopped taking.
- The amount and type of fluid you drink during the day, including alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
- Any changes to your fluid intake.
- Times of day or night you are experiencing more frequent urination.
- Any swelling in your legs.
- New or abnormal snoring.
Your physician will work with you to determine and treat the cause of your frequent urination.
Call Southern Cancer Center for More Information on Prostate Cancer Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the specialists at Southern Cancer Center can work with you to create the optimal treatment plan for your diagnosis. To schedule an appointment, call 251-625-6896 or visit SouthernCancerCenter.com.