If you have little kids, you're used to having to stop what you're doing approximately every five minutes because somebody has to use the bathroom. But what if you're the one whose frequent pee breaks are interfering with everyday life? It's one thing if you're pregnant, of course. When you don't have a baby on board, however, this problem can be almost as alarming as it is annoying. After all, this kind of endless urgency can't be normal, right? So how do you know if your constant need to pee is a sign of something serious?
Usually, feeling like you have to go all the time isn't cause for concern. You might be drinking more water than usual, or you might be consuming too much caffeine or other diuretics. You might have an overactive bladder (an uncomfortable and annoying condition that’s otherwise fairly benign). Or, of course, you could be pregnant. No matter what the reason, feeling like you have to pee constantly can be pretty rough… but it’s even harder to deal with when you're worried about a potentially serious cause.
If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms in addition to spending all day, every day in search of the nearest ladies room, these are the conditions you should probably have on your radar.
1. You Only Pee A Small Amount
When you’re forever distracted by the urge to go but you're only peeing a little bit, a condition called interstitial cystitis could be the issue. Interstitial cystitis is what happens when your pelvic nerves tell your brain that your bladder is full more often than necessary, as the Mayo Clinic explained, and it can be an incredibly painful thing to live with. Other symptoms of interstitial cystitis include pelvic pain, pain in the perineal area, pain during sex, and discomfort when your bladder is full.
2. You're Excessively Thirsty
If increased thirst and hunger accompany your increased need to pee, type 2 diabetes might be to blame, according to WebMD. A potentially life-threatening condition, type 2 diabetes makes you urinate more often because your body is trying to get rid of unused glucose; other symptoms include dry mouth, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, headaches, and blurred vision.
3. Your Abdomen Feels Heavy
Sometimes, frequent urination is accompanied by a “heavy feeling in the pelvis” (as well as muscle spasm in the area, and/or a bulge in the vagina or rectum). These can be symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder, according to The University of Chicago Medical Center:
“Pelvic floor disorders occur when the ‘sling’ or ‘hammock’ that supports the pelvic organs becomes weak or damaged.” (Not to point the finger at childbirth, but… pushing out a baby is a very common reason why women develop pelvic floor disorders.)
4. You Have Heavy Periods
If painful, heavy periods are another symptom wreaking havoc on your life, you might want to get checked out for uterine fibroids. As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health explained, uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus, and they're almost always benign (though they can sometimes lead to complications during pregnancy and labor). Along with frequent urination and heavy periods, you might also have a feeling of fullness in the lower stomach area.
5. You Leak Sometimes
Just like the rest of us, bladders can get irritated, too — and when they're irritated, they apparently feel like they have to pee all the time. Unfortunately, a lot of the things that make you happy could be making your bladder unhappy: Coffee, alcohol, tea, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomato-based products, and chocolate can cause bladder irritation, Garrett Matsunaga, M.D., chief of urology at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, told SELF.
“The thought is that these foods and drinks [can be] acidic, and that irritates the bladder wall,” Dr. Matsunaga said. “This does not happen to everyone.” Besides feeling like you have to pee all the time, you might have trouble with incontinence, too.
6. It Hurts When You Pee
This unbelievably uncomfortable sensation is a UTI red flag, and one you're probably familiar with: 40-60 percent of women will be diagnosed with a UTI eventually, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. As common as they are, however, they shouldn't be ignored; if not treated with antibiotics, some UTIs can turn into kidney infections (symptoms include severe pain in your back or lower abdomen, vomiting and nausea, and fever).
Burning pee and frequent urination can be a sign of other conditions, too, as SELF reported, including STDs, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and tears.
7. There's Blood In Your Urine
First of all, you should know that bladder cancer is considered a rare condition, so don't freak out... but blood in the urine — along with frequent urination — is one of the first symptoms of bladder cancer, according to WebMD. (Other early symptoms include a change in color of urine, burning, and not being able to pee even though you feel like you have to go.)
Even though it looks scary, blood in the urine doesn't always mean cancer; a urinary tract infection or even a kidney stone could be the cause.