Here's why you have to pee all the time

a female wearing jeans is holding her crotch area in attempt to not urinate


In this article:

  • Frequent and/or urgent urination may be caused by a number of factors or conditions, including hormonal changes and medications.

  • It’s important to be aware of other symptoms, such as pain in the back or abdomen, that can signal a more serious problem.

  • A Swedish physician can help you pinpoint the cause of frequent urination.

“Why do I have to pee all the time? Am I just drinking a lot of water, or is there something wrong with me?”

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, it may be because what used to be an occasional inconvenience has become an actual cause for concern — especially if you’ve ever had an “accident” when you didn’t get to the bathroom in time.

So what does it mean when you have to go too often or too urgently? And how often is too often?

Frequent urination means needing to urinate more times than usual. Urgent urination is a sudden, compelling urge to urinate, along with discomfort in your bladder. When the urge is both frequent and urgent, it’s a classic sign of a urinary tract infection. 

Many people start to notice they have a problem when it causes them to wake up at night, sometimes several times. A frequent need to urinate at night is called nocturia. Normally, the amount of urine produced by the body decreases at night, allowing most people to sleep six to eight hours without having to get up to go to the bathroom. Drinking too much liquid before bedtime, especially caffeine or alcohol, is often the culprit behind frequent nighttime urination.

Similarly, people should be able to “hold it” for several hours during the day, until it is convenient to go to the restroom. Four to eight bathroom visits per day is considered to be within a normal range. But when these trips begin to seem too numerous — or the need to pee is especially urgent — it’s time to find out whether you have an underlying health problem. 

Possible reasons for frequency

Below are some reasons people experience urgent or frequent urination:

  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostate or prostate infection 
  • Overactive bladder syndrome
  • Vaginitis 
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy or acidic foods
  • Medications

Less common causes of frequent urination include stroke or other nervous system conditions, bladder cancer, radiation therapy to the pelvis or growths in the pelvis. The symptoms of a disease can be subtle, so it’s best to see your health care provider if you’re experiencing urgent or frequent urination. 

Watch for these symptoms

Call your provider if you have pain or burning when you pee, see changes in urine color, or notice cloudiness or blood in the urine. Other symptoms that will require medical attention include:

  • Pain in your back or abdomen
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Genital discharge
  • Difficulty in starting the flow of urine.

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the frequency or urgency to urinate. 

If you are experiencing loss of bladder control, talk to your provider. You may have urinary incontinence. This means control over the urinary sphincter is weakened, resulting in leakage or unwanted urination.   

What if you don’t have a urinary condition, but your job or other circumstances prevent you from getting to a bathroom as often as you need? You can strengthen your bladder and control urine through exercise.

Find a doctor

If you have questions about frequent urination, contact the primary care department or urology department at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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About the Author

Our job is to provide you with the resources to keep you healthy, and as such the Swedish Primary Care team offers a mix of clinical advice based on decades of experience, tips and health hacks to prevent illnesses, and recommendations for specialty care services when needed.

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