The alarming reason you're waking in the night to pee – and when to see a doctor | The Sun

BEING woken up at night by the need to wee is a pretty common experience as men get older.

But it doesn't necessarily make it 'normal'.

The culprit behind the sleep disturber is often a common and non-cancerous problem called an enlarged prostate.

The prostate is a small, walnut sized gland that sits below the bladder. Its purpose is to produce fluid to make semen.

It tends to get bigger as you get older – hence more than 30 million men aged 50 and over getting up at least once nightly to use the bathroom.

Leading urologist Dr Ted Schaeffer from Northwestern University suggested three hacks to get a better nights' sleep if your nighttime pee trips are leaving you cranky and exhausted.

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1. Don't drink water right before bed

Dr Schaeffer's hacks might seem like common sense, but he said he has to do a lot of 'basic education' with patients visiting his clinic complaining of getting up to wee at night – medically called nocturia.

Speaking on the Peter Attia Drive Podcast, he said: "A lot of what you take in will come out. If you increase your fluid intake, you're going to have increased urinary output."

For Dr Schaeffer, regulating when you drink is very important if you're suffering from nocturia.

"Don't drink two glasses of water right before you go to bed," he told listeners.

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"And if you get up in the middle of the night because you have to urinate, don't drink another glass of water."

2. Don't drink alcohol before bed

What you're drinking can be just as important as when you're drinking it, as some beverages will have natural diuretic properties – meaning they'll make your body produce more fluid two to four hours later, Dr Schaeffer said.

"Caffeine, for example, is a natural diuretic and it will cause you to produce more fluid over a certain amount of time", the urologist said.

He said he even asks patients to write 'voiding diaries' chronicling what they drink and how much they pee afterwards.

Another 'classic' culprit is beer, which Dr Schaeffer said has a high fluid content.

3. Wear knee high stockings

Dr Schaeffer also recommended that men with any signs of fluid retention in their legs wear knee-high stockings to bed.

Fluid retention is also known as oedema and it's one of the reasons why many people need to pee at night, he said.

Signs of oedema include swelling in the ankles, feet and legs. It is often caused by a build-up of fluid in these areas, according to the NHS.

Dr Schaeffer did note that it is normal to get up a few more times during the night as you get older.

That's because our body secretes less of an anti-diuretic hormone that allows us to sleep through the night without needing to pee.

When you're younger, this hormone "has a surge of release at seven to eight o'clock at night", according to the urologist.

That's why you might produce most of you pee during waking hours in your 20s and 30s, he explained.

This doesn't just apply to men, he noted.

But Dr Schaeffer said there might be cause for concern if someone is still peeing lots at night after implementing his three tips.

It might be down to a hormonal imbalance, or it could be a sign of prostate cancer.

The disease – which affects one in eight men, according to Prostate Cancer UK – might not cause any noticeable symptoms at first because of the way the cancer grows.

But signs can include:

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  • Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
  • A weak flow when you urinate
  • A feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
  • Dribbling urine after you finish urinating
  • Needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night
  • A sudden need to urinate – you may sometimes leak urine before you get to the toilet

If you experience these symptoms, it doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer. But it's a good idea to get them checked out by a GP.

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