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What is Nocturia and how to combat it?

Does the need to urinate make you interrupt your sleep several times a night to go to the bathroom? You probably suffer from nocturia, an annoying condition that frequently occurs as a person ages. But apparently there is a way to prevent it: exercise.

Nocturia is a fairly common and very annoying condition, which can be a symptom of different things. The American Urological Association (AUA) defines it as the need to urinate at least twice during the night. Typically, people sleep uninterrupted for six to eight hours each night. If you suffer from nocturia and get up more than once to urinate, your normal sleep cycle is interrupted.

Nocturia can occur at any age, although it is less common before age 60. Even so, it is estimated that it occurs in more than 50% of men after the age of 45. It occurs most frequently due to an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (as the prostate enlarges, it tends to press down on the urethra, increasing the urge to urinate).

Nocturia can also occur due to excessive urine production, low bladder capacity, or sleep disorders. Other causes of nocturia include taking medications such as diuretics, caffeine or alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, diabetes, some heart problems, and insomnia.

Certainly, nocturia is a very annoying symptom, but there is good news. A study conducted by Kate Wolin and some of her colleagues at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine seems to indicate that men who engage in regular physical activity are less likely to suffer from it. The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The study analyzed data from a clinical investigation, Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO), in which men between 55 and 74 years old were examined. Among other topics, questions about enlarged prostate and nocturia were included in this research. Participants were also asked about their physical activity and lifestyle.

Wolin's analysis included 28,404 men who took part in the previous research, and who had symptoms of an enlarged prostate before participating in it (prevalent group); and 4,710 men who had recently begun to suffer from them (incident group).

In the incident group, men who exercised for an hour or more during the week were 13% less likely to have nocturia than those who reported no physical activity, and 34% less likely to have severe nocturia.

Nocturia was defined as waking up two or more times during the night to urinate, and severe nocturia was defined as waking up three or more times. According to Wolin, the results indicate that if physical activity is combined with other forms of control it can become a strategy to manage the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, particularly nocturia.

Why can physical activity protect you from nocturia? Perhaps because it has other positive results for the body, such as losing weight, improving sleep, reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and lowering levels of systemic inflammation.

Wolin says future studies are needed that explore physical activity as a strategy to manage symptoms of an enlarged prostate. According to researchers, special attention should be paid to the amount of physical activity necessary to achieve results.

But while research is being conducted to confirm the study's findings, you can take some steps to relieve nocturia. Among them, reduce fluid consumption at night, take diuretics six hours before going to bed, and take a nap.

And, of course, practicing some type of exercise cannot harm you in any way, according to your age and physical condition. It is possible that exercise will protect you against nocturia, and it will undoubtedly be very beneficial for the general health of your body.

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"Because prevention is better than cure"

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