Frequency refers to the number of times you go to the toilet to pass urine in a day. If you need to go to the toilet very often, more than seven times a day on drinking approximately 2 litres of fluid, you may have a frequency problem.
Frequency can be caused by an overactive bladder. The bladder might contract even when it doesn't need to; for example, if your bladder only has a small amount of urine in it, or may be oversensitive. This means that you feel the need to go to the toilet more often.
Frequency is often associated with urgency.
What is normal urinary frequency?
As with many things in life, everyone is different. This also applies to normal urinary frequency. For most people, normal frequency is about 6 - 7 times in a 24 hour period, yet between 4 and 10 times a day can also be normal if that person is healthy and happy with the number of times they visit the toilet.
Normal urinary frequency also depends on how much fluid you drink in a day and the types of fluid that you drink. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure for instance, your frequency may increase because of the way some medication works; for example medicines called "Diuretics". How healthy and active you are, and to some extent your age, can influence your urinary frequency.
Identifying a frequency problem
If you are concerned about your problem and it is starting to affect your day to day life make an appointment to see your doctor, continence nurse or specialist physiotherapist. A continence nurse and specialist physiotherapist are healthcare professionals who specialise in bladder and bowel problems. You can also call our specialist helpline 0845 345 0165 (24 hour answerphone) for medical advice, or call our office on 01536 533255 to find out where your nearest NHS continence clinic is.
Once you have made an appointment, your doctor or healthcare professional will assess you. They may ask you some of the following questions:
- How often do you go to the toilet to pass urine?
- How often do you leak urine?
- When do you leak urine?
- What medication do you take?
- What do you normally eat or drink?
- Is it painful / uncomfortable when you pass urine?
- How many times do you get up at night to pass urine?
- Do you ever wet the bed?
It would be a good idea to keep a record of your bladder activity for a few days before your appointment with your doctor or healthcare professional. Keep a record for at least 3 days.
A frequency problem can interfere with day to day life enormously, and can also be the cause of embarrassment and worry, especially if you tend to lose urine if you fail to reach the toilet in time. You can find yourself living your whole life around your problem! It is not just the number of times you go to the toilet that is a problem, but also experiencing an uncomfortable feeling of needing to urinate, which prevents you from relaxing and enjoying life.
You can call our helpline on 0845 345 0165 (24 hour answerphone) for medical advice, or call our office on 01536 533255 to find out where your nearest NHS continence service is.