Alternative name: Polyuria
Definition: Excessive amount of urination means that your body makes larger than normal amounts of urine each day.
An excessive volume of urination for an adult is more than 2.5 litres of urine per day. However, this can vary depending on how much water you drink and what your total body water is. This problem is different from needing to urinate often.
Polyuria is a fairly common symptom. People often notice the problem when they have to get up during the night to use the bathroom (nocturia).
Some common causes of the problems are:
Less common causes include:
- Kidney failure
- Medicines such as diuretics and lithium
- High or low calcium level in the body
- Drinking alcohol and caffeine
- Sickle cell anemia
Also, your urine production may increase for 24 hours after having tests that involve injecting a special dye (contrast medium) into your vein during imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI scan.
To monitor your urine output, keep a daily record of the following:
- How much you drink
- How often you urinate and how much urine you produce each time
- How much you weigh (use the same scale every day)
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have excessive urination over several days, and it is not explained by medicines you take or drinking more fluids.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions such as:
- When did the problem start and has it changed over time?
- How often do you urinate? Do you get up at night to urinate?
- Do you have problems controlling your urine?
- What makes the problem worse? Better?
- Have you noticed any blood in your urine or change in urine colour?
- Do you have any other symptoms (such as pain, burning, fever, or abdominal pain)?
- Do you have a history of diabetes, kidney disease, or urinary infections?
- What medicines do you take?
- How much salt do you eat? Do you drink alcohol and caffeine?
Tests that may be done include:
- Blood sugar (glucose) test
- Blood urea nitrogen test
- Creatinine (serum)
- Electrolytes (serum)
- Fluid deprivation test (limiting fluids to see if the urine volume decreases)
- Osmolality blood test
- Urine osmolality test
- 24-hour urine test
Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: history, physical examination, and urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 1.
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 114.