Ever found that, an hour after making a pit stop on a road trip, you find yourself needing to pull over at another petrol station – and only just make it?
Finding that your life is being ruled by your bladder is no fun.
‘There are a number of reasons influencing how often we have to wee, including age, diet, medical conditions, medications, volume of fluid intake, and type of fluid intake,’ says Dr Ekene Enemchukwu, a urologist at Stanford Medical Center.
But the truth is, some people just have a different anatomy and a smaller bladder, or their body makes more urine than others. Here are some of the reasons you might be weeing a lot more than you want to be—and what you can do to fix the issue.
1. You’re drinking too much coffee
Bladder irritants like carbonated beverages, spicy foods, acidic fruits, artificial sweeteners, sugars, and alcohol can leave you weeing a lot.
Caffeinated drinks pack a particularly strong punch, though. ‘Caffeine is both a direct bladder irritant, and it’s also a diuretic,’ explains Dr Bilal Chughtai, an associate professor of urology at Weill Cornell Medicine.
‘It makes your bladder more overactive, and it also makes you produce more urine.
To dial down your urge to wee, limit yourself to two cups of caffeinated drinks a day—that’s the max before you start upping your urinary frequency, one study in the International Urogynecology Journal found.
2. You’re stressed
As if anxiety and stress didn’t stink enough on their own, here’s one less-talked-about side effect: weeing a lot.
‘Sometimes, if you’re anxious or stressed, that can lead to high sensitivity of the bladder,’ says Dr. Chughtai.
3. You have a urinary tract infection (UTI)
Yep, you guessed it: urinary tract infections (a.k.a. ‘cystitis’ if bacteria strike your bladder) love to make you wee a lot or at least feel an urge to wee. Sex (which can spread germs from your vagina to your urethra) can up your risk for the pesky infections.
If you have a urinary tract infection, you’ll likely need an antibiotic to keep symptoms at bay (and to start weeing normally again).
4. You’re super backed up
If you’ve been constipated for a while now, frequent urination can tag along with your symptoms (yep, super crummy). Why? Lots of straining puts extra stress on your bladder muscles and pelvic floor, which are essential for helping you control the urge to wee. Over time, this excess pressure weakens your muscles, making it harder to hold it. Often, upping your fibre intake is enough to move things along down there.
5. You’re pregnant
Weeing a lot or leaking while preggers? That’s typical. In fact, four in 10 expectant mamas struggle with urinary incontinence, a review in the International Urogynecology Journal showed.
Weight gain and baby’s growth alike can put more pressure on your pelvic floor and bladder muscles, weakening your ability to hold in wee. What’s more? The weaker your bladder is, the less urine you can store, cueing the urge to wee and more leaks.
Good news, though: After you welcome your little one, your muscles typically heal and you get your bladder control back (read: urinary frequency slows, too). If you’re still having bladder problems six weeks post-baby, give your doc a call for a checkup.
6. You have diabetes
A few symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes? Excessive thirst and frequent urination (nighttime urination can also be a sign).
If you have untreated diabetes, your body is trying to get rid of excess blood sugar, which means you wind up weeing a lot. Dehydration can follow making for a vicious cycle.
7. You have interstitial cystitis (IC)
This condition—a chronically inflamed and irritated bladder—is the whopper of your why do I wee so much worries. If you’re suffering, your pelvic area likely hurts. And while weeing a small amount of urine gives you some relief, as soon as your bladder fills back up, you’re in pain again. Sometimes, the urge to wee is constant—even if you just went to the bathroom.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health UK.
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