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Frequent Trips During the Night? – Nocturia Truth

Getting up multiple times to pee at night? Your problem may not be with your bladder. It may be in your airway.

Nocturia — urinating repeatedly during the night — among individuals diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is so common that nocturia is actually a screening tool for diagnosing a patient with OSAS.

In fact, a recent study found that nocturia could be just as accurate as snoring in identifying those with severe cases of the sleep-breathing disorder. 

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

As we mentioned above, OSA is a sleep-breathing disorder in which there is a partial or complete blockage of the upper airways during sleep. This causes the person’s brain to wake them up so that they can gasp for breath. The result is loud snoring and gasping for air.

What Causes Sleep Apnea? 

There are two main types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain stops sending signals to the muscles needed to breathe. In this case, the body will continue to breathe normally but without oxygen getting into the lungs. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something blocks the airway, causing it to collapse while you are sleeping.

The Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Those living with obstructive sleep apnea don’t get a restful night’s sleep as a result of their condition. They are constantly waking up due to their blocked airway and do not fully reach a level of deep sleep. 

This condition can also lead to other problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even death.

Sleep apnea can affect all your body’s processes, including urinary excretion.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Urinary System and Causes Nocturia

So how does a sleep-breathing disorder cause nocturia? 

When you have obstructive sleep apnea, you never reach the level of deep sleep your body needs to restore itself. It is also in this level of sleep that your hormones are regulated, including the hormones that tell your bladder to stop producing urine. 

If you do not reach this level of sleep, then your bladder will continue to produce more urine than it should. You may feel like you need to go to the bathroom every hour or so throughout the night — which also means you’re not getting enough sleep if you’re up and down all night. 

Children, Bedwetting and Sleep Apnea

One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea in children is bedwetting. This is most notable in children who are beyond the potty-training stage. In many instances, children who are living with chronic bedwetting after being potty trained become embarrassed or frustrated at the situation, along with their parents.

But, don’t they outgrow it? While some children living with frequent nighttime urination do eventually outgrow it, others may develop into adults who still experience frequent nighttime urination.

It is important to note that while frequent nighttime urination and overactive bladder are often associated with sleep apnea, the conditions are not always both present. 

The Signs of Sleep Apnea

In addition to frequent urination, there are several other signs that indicate you or your child might have sleep apnea. Some of these include:

  • Frequent daytime sleepiness
  • Snoring loudly
  • Excessive sweating
  • Loud snorting or gasping sounds when sleeping
  • Morning headaches
  • Feeling tired during the day
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Being unable to fall back asleep once awake
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of energy

Is Sleep Apnea Serious? 

While sleep apnea is not considered a life-threatening medical condition, it can be very serious for those living with it. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause health issues ranging from high blood pressure to cardiovascular diseases. The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated successfully.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

There are different treatment options available for people living with sleep apnea. These treatments range from lifestyle changes to surgery. However, before deciding on which option is best for you, it is important to understand what is causing your sleep apnea.

Lifestyle Changes

There are certain things you can do to help treat sleep apnea without having to undergo any type of surgical procedure. One of these is making sure you get plenty of restful sleep each night.

You can try using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine as an alternative to more invasive treatments. A CPAP machine helps keep your airways open by providing a stream of pressurized air through a mask worn over your nose and mouth.

You can also make sure you avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and large meals before bedtime. Avoiding these substances will help ensure you get quality sleep.

Oral appliances can also be used to treat mild cases of sleep apnea. Oral appliances work by pulling the jaw forward, which opens the airway. They are usually prescribed if you have mild obstructions in your throat.

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