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Nocturia (Frequent Urination at Night)

Nocturia is a term used to describe waking up frequently to urinate at night. It is also one prevalent symptom of obstructive sleep apnea that many people may not know about. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, over 84% of people with OSA reported frequent nighttime urination while only 82% reported snoring. Waking up once, or even twice, to urinate is considered normal, but many people with sleep apnea may wake up six or more times a night to urinate.

How does obstructive sleep apnea(OSA) cause nocturia?

Many people are surprised to find out that frequent nighttime urination is related to OSA. In order to understand the relationship between the two, we must look at what happens during a sleep apnea episode and how this episode affects the body. Listed below is a brief description of the physiological chain of events that leads to nocturia.

  • the airway closes, which restricts airflow
  • oxygen levels decrease, which leads to an increase in carbon dioxide
  • the blood becomes more acidic, heart rate drops, and the blood vessels in the lung constrict, telling the body it needs to breathe
  • the body is roused from sleep enough so that it can restore airflow
  • restored airflow causes the heart to race, which causes a false sense of fluid overload
  • the heart then secretes a protein that tells the body to eliminate excess sodium and water
  • this causes the urge to urinate

Treating Nocturia Caused by OSA

Nocturia is considered to be a symptom of undiagnosed OSA. Therefore, treatments for OSA are also effective at treating nocturia. This is because treatments for OSA aim to preserve proper airflow, which decreases or eliminates apnea episodes. Since frequent urination at night is directly linked with apnea episodes, decreasing or eliminating sleep apnea episodes will also decrease or eliminate nocturia.

Treatments for OSA & Nocturia can include one or more of the following:

  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)-The most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP uses gentle air pressure through a mask placed over your nose or mouth to keep your throat open while you sleep. The goal of this treatment is not just to alleviate symptoms but also to improve your quality of life.
  • Oral Appliances – Oral appliances may also be used to reposition the jaw and tongue in order to open up the airway and promote proper airflow.
  • Lifestyle Modifications – Lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight with diet and exercise, and avoiding sleeping pills or alcohol, can also help reduce symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
  • Positional sleep techniques – Sleeping on your side instead of sleeping on your back.
  • Nerve Stimulators – Implanted hypoglossal nerve stimulator
  • Surgical Procedures 

In order to receive treatment, however, you must first be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Doctor Dreamweaver offers easy and affordable home sleep apnea testing. Once you get your results, you will be connected to a sleep specialist near you who can recommend the best treatment. 

Do you wake up frequently to urinate at night? Contact Doctor Dreamweaver today to get your home sleep apnea test so that you can sleep well and be well.

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