POLYURIA: Excessive Urination Volume
What is polyuria?
Polyuria is also known as excessive urination. Polyuria happens when one urinates more than what would be considered normal. Urinary volume should not be more than 2.5 liters daily thus anything greater than this volume is considered excessive.
The urinary volume of 2 liters and less per day is considered normal though it is dependent on age and gender.
Polyuria occurs commonly but it becomes abnormal when it lasts for many days, weeks or months. Some people notice the symptoms more at night and this is called nocturia.
Medical conditions that cause excessive urination volume
The likely medical conditions that would cause excessive urination to include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Urinary incontinence
- Kidney failure
- Excessive thirst (polydipsia) due to a mental disorder
- Kidney stones
- Interstitial nephritis
- Sickle cell anemia
- Enlarged prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia, common in elderly men
- Some cancers
Polyuria can occur following hospital tests where dyes are injected into the body such as CT scan or MRI. You may urinate excessively a day after these tests are done. Do well to speak to your doctor if the problem persists.
Other common causes of polyuria
Some lifestyle behaviors can also cause excessive urination. Taking plenty amount of fluids (polydipsia) can cause polyuria and it is not a health concern. Taking alcohol and caffeine can also result in polyuria.
Some drugs are also implicated in polyuria, these drugs are called diuretics and they include:
- Thiazide diuretic: example chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide
- Potassium-sparing diuretic: example spironolactone, eplerenone, triamterene
- Loop diuretics: example furosemide, bumetanide
Most of these drugs are used for the treatment of high blood pressure and edema.
Alcohol and caffeine also serve as diuretics.
When to seek treatment for polyuria
When you suspect that a health condition might be the cause of your excessive urination, seek treatment. See a doctor if you have the following symptoms alongside polyuria:
- Back pain
- Leg weakness
- Sudden onset polyuria especially that occurring in childhood
- Mental problems
- Weight loss
- Excessive night sweats
These symptoms are seen in medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, kidney infections. Early detection and subsequent treatment would produce a better outcome.
If you think that the increased urine volume is due to medications or taking plenty of fluids, monitor your urine volume for some days but if this volume is still excessive after a while, see a doctor.
Diabetes and excessive urinary volume
Diabetes mellitus is one very common cause of polyuria. In this condition, sugar in the blood accumulates in the kidney tubules and cause the urine volume to increase.
Diabetes insipidus is another form of diabetes where the excess urine volume is caused by insufficient production of anti-diuretic hormone or vasopressin.
Vasopressin is produced by the pituitary gland situated in the anterior neck, it plays a role in fluid absorption in the kidneys. When it is under-produced, urine volume is increased. Urine volume can also increase when the kidney is not capable of regulating the fluid passing through it in a condition known as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
In diagnosing diabetes, blood sugar estimation is done and if it is a form of diabetes that is causing polyuria, you will be given treatments such as:
- Oral medications
- Insulin injections
- Dietary modifications
Relieving the symptoms
When polyuria is not being caused by a medical condition, it can be managed at home. All it will require will be some lifestyle modifications that will prevent excessive urination volume. These modifications include:
- Limit your fluid intake
- Limit fluid intake before bedtime
- Limit caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Know the side effect of medications you are taking
When excessive urination volume is due to an underlying medical cause, the key is to treat the cause. An example is excessive urination volume caused by diabetes, it can be relieved by dietary modifications and by the use of medications.
Outlook for excessive urination volume
Open up to your doctor about the symptoms you experience no matter how uncomfortable you may feel. Polyuria usually has a good outcome, especially when not caused by an underlying medical condition. Lifestyle changes may just be all you need to resolve polyuria. Medical conditions causing polyuria may require long-term treatment, such as diabetes. Whatever the cause is, it would be addressed by the doctor who will in turn work with you to bring your polyuria under control.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.