Harvard Women's Health Watch

Full bladder wakes women more often than thought

Two in three women over age 40 wake up at least once each night because of a full bladder, and nearly half make two or more nighttime trips to the bathroom. But only a quarter of women who get up to urinate during the night say they are bothered by having to do so.

That's the finding from a survey of more than 2,000 northern California women ages 40 and older. Factors that increased the likelihood that a woman woke at night to urinate included older age, past hysterectomy, hot flashes, and use of vaginal estrogen. However, the late-night bathroom breaks weren't caused by an overactive bladder or stress incontinence. The results were published in the January 2015 issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

If you have to urinate during the night, you may want to learn if there is an underlying reason, especially if your bladder has just started to awaken you. A number of problems—such as urinary tract infections, high blood sugar, diabetes, or kidney disease—could be to blame.

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