The medical name for frequent urination at night is “nocturia.” This is usually defined as waking up more than twice a night to empty the bladder. This problem becomes more common with age: Studies show that up to 80% of people over 65 complain of frequent awakenings to urinate, in part because of gradual changes in the natural pattern of urination.
Nocturia has many causes. Some are directly related to the urinary tract: Urinary tract infection and chronic kidney disease are two examples. In men, enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hypertrophy–BPH) or a chronic infection of the prostate (prostatitis) may also cause nocturia.
As you might expect, drinking large amounts of fluids in general or caffeine or taking a diuretic (prescription medicines popularly known as “water pills”) can also contribute to the problem.
Nocturia is common in people with diabetes and frequently affects those suffering from heart failure as well as diseases that cause fluid retention.
Sleep disorders commonly affect people suffering from depression, anxiety, or obstructive sleep apnea, causing them to awaken in the night.