Although nocturia also seems to increase with age, it can indicate an underlying medical problem, ranging from a bladder dysfunction to diabetes to chronic heart failure. Nocturia as a result of excess urine production is another possible cause (called nocturnal polyuria syndrome or NPS). Another little known cause of nocturia is sleep apnoea.This is when a person stops breathing for several seconds, several times a night. Nocturia can also be a side effect of some medications, such as diuretics used to treat high blood pressure.

Emptying the bladder before bedtime through catheterization will help avoid the urge to pass urine at night. Nocturia itself causes sleep interruption and lack of sleep is a risk factor for accidents. For treatment of NPS, a synthetic version of the hormone, ADH called desmopressin (Minirin) can be given before bedtime to reduce excess urine production at night. In elderly men with enlarged benign prostate (BPH), alpha-blocker drugs like terazosin (Hytrin), alfuzosin (Xatral), tamsulosin (Vesicare) act to reduce the residual urine at night [Fig 2].

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