Do You Have To Go A Lot? Nocturia, Urinary Incontinence, And Sleep Apnea

If you’re one of the millions of men and women who have to go the the bathroom far too often, or have embarrassing leaks of urine once in a while, here’s some important information that you should know. The New York Times (Feb. 3) reported on an article from the New England Journal of Medicine which revealed that postmenopausal women with urinary incontinence issues had significant improvement after losing weight. They also benefitted in other areas such as improvements in their blood pressure, lipids, sleep and libido.


Another article in this month’s Journal SLEEP reported that OSA is associated with overactive bladder in men with or without urinary incontinence. The worse the severity of OSA, the worse the level of urinary problems. Not too surprisingly, nocturia (getting up at night to go to the bathroom frequently at night) is a known complication of obstructive sleep apnea. 


Most people with these issues end up seeing a urologist initially and are placed on various medications that work to various degrees. However, a recent study suggests why you should see a sleep doctor instead—people who wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom do so not because their bladders were full, but rather because they stopped breathing and then realized that they had a full bladder. OSA has also been shown to increase atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), which is produced by the heart when it gets too much blood due to the sudden rush of blood after a lack of blood flow during an apnea episode. ANP causes you to make more urine to get rid of the excess fluid.


Something new to think about for all our senior citizens (and young adults too).

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One thought on “Do You Have To Go A Lot? Nocturia, Urinary Incontinence, And Sleep Apnea

  1. Deer Dr. Park:
    What is the possible cause that the nocturnal polyuria is irreversible in spite of CPAP use and taking desmopressin?