Diabetes and nighttime urination, or nocturia, can be a sign of uncontrolled blood sugar levels

This guide to nocturia explains the basics of recognising nocturia, and how to avoid it.

What is nocturia?

Nocturia is defined as nocturnal urination. This means the need to get up in the night to go to the toilet.

Needing to go to the toilet up to once during the night is considered to be normal. Needing to urinate more than once during the night could indicate a temporary or longer term problem may be present.

Causes of nocturia

There are a number of possible causes for needing to urinate more frequently than normal at night and these may include one or more of the following:

Nocturia is more likely to appear as we get older.

Diabetes and nocturia

Having high blood glucose levels can cause the body to excrete excess glucose via the urine. In this instance, more sugar appears in the urine and simulates extra volumes of urine to be produced.

If you regularly have high blood glucose levels, you may increase the risk of picking up a urinary tract infection which can also increase the need to urinate through the night.

One specific form of diabetes that is not linked with abnormal blood glucose levels, diabetes insipidus, is closely linked with nocturia.

How can nocturia be treated?

How nocturia is treated will depend upon what the underlying cause is. If you are having than recommended blood glucose levels, bringing your levels under tighter control could help to reduce the need to urinate at night. Contact your GP or diabetes team for help in improving your blood glucose control

If nocturia becomes troublesome or more frequent than normal, speak to your GP a sign of a condition unrelated to diabetes.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce the frequency of urination over night. Diuretic medication may be prescribed for use earlier in the day to help you pass excess urine before going to sleep.

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