If you’re the one in your friendship group who’s always holding everyone up while you stop to pee, there’s a good chance you’ve wondered if your bodily functions (namely, your frequent urination) are entirely normal. But if meeting friends in the park or going to a festival immediately has you panicking about a lack of public toilets, you’re not alone.
While it’s true that our need to pee regularly increases as we age and give birth, some people naturally need to go more than others. However, there are some cases in which you may need to see your GP about the amount you urinate. We spoke to a doctor to get the lowdown on exactly what’s normal.
Is it normal to need to pee all the time?
There’s no certain answer here, but if you’ve always been a person who needs to pees a lot, that could just be the way you are - which is fine! However, if you notice a sudden change in the amount you’re peeing you may want to consider why.
It may seem obvious, but upping your fluid intake will increase the amount you urinate. So if you’ve set a goal to drink more water - put it down to that. Dr Selena Langdon tells Cosmopolitan: “The number of times you urinate throughout the day varies due to many factors such as how much fluid you drink and what type. Staying hydrated is important, and an easy way to work out if you are drinking enough is to check the colour of your urine. Ideally you want it to be a light straw colour. If it is too dark then you should increase your fluid intake, if too light or clear then you can ease off.
“It is also important to monitor what you drink as caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to need to urinate more often.
“If you still find you need to urinate a lot but your fluid intake isn’t the issue then it is important to see your doctor as it can be a sign of a number of health issues. A regular need to urinate can be a sign of diabetes, vaginitis, a weak pelvis, or you might have an overactive bladder which is caused by overly active or irritated bladder muscles.
“If you are older, then stress incontinence which is common around perimenopause (which usually affects women in their late forties) is common. It’s best treated with pelvic floor exercises or in some cases medications.”
Anxiety about being far away from a toilet can also increase our “need” to pee, purely because it’s on our mind.
Do women need to pee more regularly than men?
It’s not necessarily true that women pee a lot more than men. “The regularity with which you need to urinate is not necessarily related to your gender, although women do have a shorter urethra (the tube from your bladder which urine passes through) and are therefore more prone to urinary tract infections (UTI),” explains Dr Selena.
“To help guard against a UTI it is important to drink plenty of water, wipe from front to back and avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, deodorants or powers.”
Our hormones also play a part, particularly when we’re using contraceptives. “Different types of birth control can also influence how often you might suffer from a UTI as does regular sex, it is important to empty your bladder soon after intercourse which will help to clear any bacteria from your urethra.”
Should I be doing pelvic floor exercises?
Strengthening your vagina can help with your need to pee often, along with various other benefits including better orgasms. Dr Selena says: “Pelvic floor exercises are very important for women (and men too). Just like any other muscle it is easier to keep in shape than get in shape. While your pelvic floor health is highest in your 20s it is also a time when you are likely to participate in high-intensity exercise and regular sex.
“If you are older and have not done regular pelvic exercises it is never too late to start. If you’re not sure how to exercise your pelvic floor, next time you urinate try to stop mid-stream; these are the pelvic floor muscles. Ideally you want to excise these by contracting the muscles, hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times and do this every day.”
So essentially, knowing what's normal for your body will determine if you need to pee too much. Of course, if you have serious concerns about the amount you’re peeing, or if you’re experiencing any pain, it’s worth checking in with your GP just to be safe.
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