Nocturia or Overactive Bladder Incontinence at Night- An Overview

The need to urinate more than once during the night may indicate that you might be suffering from an overactive bladder at night. This medical condition is known as nocturia and differs from overactive bladder incontinence(OAB). A person might experience nocturia combined with OAB and feel perfectly normal during the daytime. As a person ages, they are at a high risk of developing nocturia. Some people can sleep peacefully for 6 to 8 hours at night without getting up. Statistics state that nearly one in three individuals over 30 years will take two trips to urinate at night. You should understand that nocturia is not the same as bedwetting and will disrupt one’s normal sleep cycle. It causes numerous complications along with sleep loss. Keep reading to learn how to treat nocturia.

Types & Causes of Nocturia or Overactive Bladder Incontinence at Night

There are four major nocturia types: nocturnal polyuria, global polyuria, low nocturnal bladder capacity, and mixed nocturia.

  • Nocturnal polyuria condition produces lots of urine in the bladder during the night.
  • Global polyuria is a type of overactive bladder incontinence which produces more urine during the day and night.
  • Low nocturnal bladder capacity is a type of health problem wherein a patient will not be able to hold more fluid in the urinary bladder during the night.
  • Mixed nocturia is a combination of all three types of nocturia.

A physician consoles his patient who is stressed out.

There are various causes of nocturia; in most cases, it develops from a simple overactive bladder condition. However, the cause is always related to the type of overactive bladder incontinence at night. Let us list the cause of both nocturnal and global polyuria here.

  • Consumption of excess amounts of caffeinated drinks and alcohol close to bedtime
  • Poorly controlled or untreated type 1 or 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and diabetes insipidus
  • Heart failure issues
  • Leg swelling problem
  • Sleep apnea or other disorders associated with sleep
  • Usage of specific medications

The causes of low nocturnal bladder capacity are:

  • Overactivity and inflammation of the urinary bladder
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Tumour or obstruction in the bladder
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate in men
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Pregnancy in women

A few of the medications that cause overactive bladder incontinence at night are:

  • Demeclocycline
  • Cardiac glucosides
  • Methoxyflurane
  • Lithium
  • Phenytoin
  • Excessive intake of vitamin D
  • Diuretics like furosemide and torsemide
  • Propoxyphene

Treatments for Overactive Bladder Incontinence at Night

The preventive measures suggested by renowned clinics in big cities like Chennai are lifestyle changes that reduce the frequency of urination at night. The other treatment options are:


Diuretics will cause nocturia, but when taken in the early hours of the day, they will help eliminate excess fluid from the system. Thus, diuretics are the best method to decrease urine production and treat overactive bladder incontinence at night.


Medications are the best ways to treat overactive bladder incontinence at night. Anticholinergics are drugs used to treat the OAB symptoms, and it is prescribed when OAB is causing nocturia. These medications decrease the urge to urinate by resolving bladder spasms. The other drugs which have a good effect on treating overactive bladder incontinence at night are:

  • Desmopressin – It helps the kidney to produce lower quantities of urine, especially when the patient suffers from diabetes insipidus.
  • Tamsulosin, Finasteride and Dutasteride – These help in treating an enlarged prostate.
  • Antibiotics – This treats overactive bladder incontinence at night when the patient has a urinary tract infection.

Also Read: What Causes Urinary Incontinence in Women?

Nerve Stimulation

In most cases, the underlying reason for nocturia is some neurological issue. There are nerves to send signals to the bladder to perform contractions. When there is a neurological health problem, it might develop an urge to urinate and can be treated through a non-invasive or invasive method. The non-invasive method provides electrical stimulation that treats overactive bladder incontinence at night. On the other hand, the invasive method is done by implanting a tiny device near the tail-bone to regulate the impulses to the urinary bladder. This works best for a long duration and is also safe to use. Most importantly, the invasive process is reversible and eases out the symptoms of both nocturia and OAB better than any other treatment.


Surgery is the last option to consider when medications and preventive measures do not work on a patient. The success rate of the surgical procedure to treat overactive bladder incontinence at night depends entirely on the underlying medical condition. A popular surgery to treat incontinence is prostate surgery for men. It helps in relieving the symptoms caused due to the enlarged prostate and resolves the obstruction.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative medicine is effective for treating nocturia only if overactive bladder incontinence is the cause. A few of the alternative medicines that have been seen to show good results are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Homoeopathy remedies
  • Herbal medications

As certain alternative medicines cause side effects, it is always recommended to consult with a professional health care provider in any of the reputed clinics in Chennai before taking them.

A Brief on How to Prevent Night Time Urination

The first line of treatment for overactive bladder incontinence at night is preventive measures like lifestyle and dietary changes. If you walk into any big clinic in Chennai for treating incontinence, the doctor will suggest you to restrict fluid intake before going to bed. Though you will see great results when you stop consuming fluids a few hours before bedtime, you should take sufficient fluids throughout the daytime to prevent dehydration. The other effective lifestyle changes to treat and prevent nocturia are:

  • Limiting the consumption of alcohol and caffeine
  • Being fit and healthy, as obesity puts extra pressure on the bladder
  • Tracking the intake of diuretics
  • Having afternoon naps

If you are experiencing oedema, which is causing overactive bladder incontinence at night, try to elevate your legs as much as possible during the daytime to reduce swelling. Place your legs in an elevated posture and take afternoon naps. Use compression stockings which prevent the build-up of fluids in the leg.

Wrap Up

If you are experiencing frequent urination during the night, reach out to JOGO clinic, one of the premium clinics in Chennai which uses FDA-approved digital therapeutics techniques to treat incontinence of all types.

Treating All Types of Urinary Incontinence

Get life-changing treatments for urinary incontinence at JOGO Clinic, Chennai.


1/1,11th Cross st., Shastri Nagar, Adyar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600020.