ADVICE: I am a guy and I have to pee. A lot

Frequent bathroom breaks aren't just for women and could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or diabetes.

Maja Begovic November 27, 2020
Toilet

Dear Asking For a Friend,

I am a guy and I need to pee a lot. I often find myself running to the washroom throughout the day and in the middle of the night. I am young and healthy — is my bladder acting up?

Signed, Leakage

 

Dear Leakage,

If you’re young and healthy, pelvic floor dysfunction, a urinary tract infection, and your lifestyle habits might be to blame.

First, let’s talk about pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).

Dr. Dean Elterman, urologic surgeon at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and assistant professor in the department of surgery at the University of Toronto suggests that physical activity can impact bladder function and cause urinary frequency in younger men.

Pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, rectum and prostate, and if the muscles are too tight — which can happen as a result of exercise — it can contribute to urinary frequency and incontinence. Elterman says that PFD may be treated with pelvic floor physical therapy, which can include stretching exercises to relax the tight muscles.

Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can also cause a frequent and sudden need to pee — it happens when bacteria builds up in your urinary tract. The bacteria can make its way from the bladder to the kidneys, causing a serious infection. Treatment usually includes antibiotics, but you can prevent the recurrence of a bladder infection through simple lifestyle tweaks, such as drinking fluids throughout the day, emptying the bladder when you need to rather than holding it in, and by practicing safe sex.

Could your lifestyle be the culprit?

Elterman says that sometimes, peeing a lot might be a symptom of your daily habits. If you’re drinking more fluids, if you’ve upped your alcohol, soda and coffee intake, and if you’re eating spicy foods, you might need to make some adjustments. He says that many people drink more fluids than needed as a way to flush out toxins from the body, which he says, is a misconception. If you’re peeing more than six or seven times within a 24 hour period, you might want to pay attention to what you do every day. Keeping a diary of your daily habits and activities might help you get to the bottom of what might be the cause and the adjustments you need to make to reduce your symptoms.

What about diabetes?

Another explanation for your symptoms might be an overactive bladder, but in younger people, that is quite rare, according to Elterman. Diabetes can also cause urinary frequency, along with increased thirst, fatigue and weight loss.

Seeing red

In rare cases, Elterman says that urinary frequency, along with blood in the urine, can be a sign of bladder cancer. The best way to manage your symptoms is to consult with your healthcare provider who can properly diagnose you and recommend a treatment option based on your age and medical history. If you wait to get checked, your symptoms could get worse.

Is there something about health that you (or a friend, wink, wink) have always wondered about, but are too embarrassed to ask? Send a note to info@healthing.ca. We promise your ‘friend’s’ secret – and identity –  is safe with us.

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