Worried about how often you’re needing to go to the toilet?
Young people: Diabetes is the main fear in young people, and can onset at any age. Important red flags are whether you have unexplained weight loss and if the urine has a sweet smell.
If not, then it’s may be caused by when your drinking your fluids and what your drinking, caffeine and alcohol are diuretics and will make you pee frequently.
If the frequency of your need to go to the toilet persists then consult your GP.
Alternatively, it could be as a result of an STI, in which case it may be accompanied by burning sensations and unusual discharge.
However, some STIs may present with no symptoms at all, so it’s important to get checked after each new sexual partner, especially if the sex was unprotected.
Older men: Prostate cancer is the greatest fear here, but something called benign prostatic hyperplasia is far more likely.
As a man ages, the cells of his prostate naturally increase in number, this is what is meant by benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is harmless other than it makes it difficult to pee but treatments are available.
The reason both of these conditions increase how often you need to use the toilet is they obstruct all the urine from exiting your bladder, so you find it difficult to pee.
It’s important to visit your GP when you find this just so we can make sure you’re safe, but not to panic. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia effects 50% of men in their 60s and 20% of men in there 40s.
Women: Pregnancy is a common cause. This is perfectly normal and is caused by the increased pressure on your bladder caused by the baby itself resting upon it.
Urinary Tract Infections effect women far more frequently than men because they have much shorter urethras (the tube that urine comes out of) and also their urethra is closer to their rectum (sorry ladies).
These will present with abdominal or genital discomfort that will progress towards the bladder and kidneys if left untreated.
It is very uncommon for a young man to have a UTI but if you suspect he does it is important to bring him to a doctor.
Sam Fitzpatrick Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.
Milad Rouf Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.
Roehrborn C, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: An Overview. Urology Rev Urol. 2005; 7(Suppl 9): S3–S14.
Chaliha C and Stanton SL. 2002. Urological problems in pregnancy. BJU International 89(5):469-476.
Hytten F. 1985. Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy. Clinics in Haemotology 14(3):601-612.