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What is nocturia?

Nocturia is waking up one or more times during the night because of the need to urinate.

This means that if you wake up during the night — for instance, because you are thirsty, hear noises, worry, or feel pain — and you decide to visit the toilet in the meantime, you do not have nocturia. You also do not suffer from nocturia if you go to the toilet first thing in the morning.

Waking up once in a while to urinate is common and is generally not very bothersome. However, if you regularly wake up two or more times a night, it can affect your quality of life and general health. The more times you wake up each night, the more it impacts your wellbeing.

Nocturia disrupts your sleep and may cause you to be more tired than usual during the day. This can make it difficult to concentrate at work and carry out your daily activities. Your lower energy levels could also affect your social life.

How common is nocturia?

Nocturia affects both men and women, and becomes more common as you grow older. In adults under 30, more women than men suffer from nocturia while over the age of 50, it affects men more often. Over the age of 60, the chances of suffering from nocturia rapidly increase for men and women alike.

Interesting Fact

While nocturia literally means “urination at night”, it may also occur during the day, for those who work night shifts and sleep in the daytime.

This information was produced by the European Association of Urology (EAU) January 2014.

  • Prof. Christopher Chapple, Sheffield (UK)
  • Dr. Jean-Nicolas Cornu, Paris (FR)
  • Prof. Stavros Gravas, Larissa (GR)
  • Dr. Diane Newman, Philadelphia (USA)
  • Prof. Andreas Skolarikos, Athens (GR)
  • Mr. Nikesh Thiruchelvam, Cambridge (UK)

Updated by the EAU Patient Information Working Group, March 2018:

  • Dr. Sarah Ottenhof, Amsterdam (NL)
  • Dr. Marta Sochaj, Warsaw (PL)
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