Diagnosis of Nocturia

Your doctor may order a series of tests to understand what causes your symptoms. This is called a diagnosis. The diagnosis of nocturia is relatively simple, but understanding the underlying causes is much more complex. This is because nocturia may be a symptom of other medical conditions.

First, the doctor or nurse will take your medical history and do a physical examination. If needed, other tests will be performed, depending on:

  • your age
  • the impact the symptoms have on your daily life
  • other medical conditions you may suffer from (in particular heart, kidney neurological or psychiatric conditions)
  • your current medications

Based on the results of your evaluations, your doctor will identify the cause of your nocturia and recommend the right treatment.

This section offers general information about the diagnosis of nocturia and situations may vary from country to country.

Medical history

The doctor will take a detailed medical history and ask questions about your symptoms. You can help your doctor by preparing for the consultation:

  • Describe your current symptoms and note how long you have had them for
  • Describe the duration and quality of your sleep over the past weeks
  • Describe your lifestyle:
    – what, when and how much you drink, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
    – specify your diet
    – how often you exercise
    – whether or not you smoke
  • Make a list of previous surgical procedures
  • Make a list of medication you are currently taking

Physical examination

Your doctor or nurse will do a physical examination. They will be looking for:

  • A distended bladder (your bladder may stretch if it does not empty completely)
  • Swelling to your ankles and legs (known as peripheral oedema)
  • Skin damage on your genitals (a sign of urinary incontinence)
  • Discharge from the urethra (a sign of infection)
  • Abnormalities in the genitals

Your doctor or nurse may also do a prostate examination in men or a pelvic examination in women, test your blood pressure, and look for signs of heart, lung, or neurological conditions.

Bladder diary

Your doctor may ask you to keep a bladder diary. Use this diary to record how much you drink, how often you urinate, and how much urine you produce. You can easily measure the volume of urine at home with the help of a measuring jug. You can also mention when you feel a strong urge to go or have any loss of urine. The bladder diary is important because it helps your doctor to understand your symptoms better. You can print a bladder diary.


Your doctor may ask you to fill out a questionnaire to better understand your symptoms and their impact on your quality of life. The most common questionnaire is Nocturia-Quality of Life (N-QoL).