There are several factors that can influence how often someone needs to pass urine. As such, there is no definitive number which is considered ‘normal’ for everybody.

However, the general consensus among experts is that somewhere between six and eight visits per day is the typical range for most.

For those who drink plenty of fluids, it may not be out of the ordinary to go as many as ten times per day. Someone with a sensitive bladder may need to go more often too, whereas a person who is able to resist the urge to urinate may only go around four times per day.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the habits that can cause someone to go more frequently; and when urinary frequency or other symptoms might be indicative of a problem requiring a doctor’s advice.

What can cause people to pee more?

A number of dietary, physical and medical factors can cause someone to visit the toilet to pee more often. These include:

  • drinking lots of fluids
  • eating salty foods (which will typically lead someone to become thirsty and drink more fluids)
  • drinking lots of caffeine and alcohol (these are diuretic agents which cause the kidneys to produce more urine)
  • having a sensitive bladder
  • taking certain medications (such as diuretics for high blood pressure)
  • or being pregnant (this can put extra pressure on the bladder).

Conversely, if someone is prone to sweating or undertakes a lot physical activity, then they may need not need to urinate as often, as their body will need to retain more water in order to stay hydrated.

When should someone see a doctor?

Going to the toilet more often can also sometimes be a sign of an illness.

This tends to be the case if someone notices a sudden, drastic increase in their usual urinary frequency; or if they have additional symptoms.

Many people may occasionally get up to go to the toilet in the night (for instance if they’ve drunk a lot of fluid close to bedtime) and this is typically not a cause for concern.

However, if someone gets up several times a night or has to get up to go to the toilet on a regular basis, this may be due to a health problem, and should be brought to the attention of a doctor.

Furthermore, if someone is going to the toilet more often than usual and they feel constantly tired and thirsty, they should also see a doctor.

Other symptoms which might be indicative of an illness include:

  • having red or pink urine;
  • having white or cloudy urine;
  • pain during urination;
  • strong smelling urine;
  • fever and back pain;
  • leaking urine;
  • strong urges to urinate which develop suddenly;
  • having problems starting a urinary flow;
  • feeling as though the bladder hasn’t emptied after going to the toilet;
  • or straining to pee.

Again, anyone experiencing any one of the above symptoms should speak to their doctor.

What can someone do to maintain good ‘urinary health’?

In the case of the additional symptoms above being present too, treating the underlying condition responsible may help. Once they’ve identified the problem, a doctor will be able to make a recommendation and issue treatment where required.

Otherwise, there are some general lifestyle measures which can help to maintain healthy urinary habits, such as keeping caffeine, alcohol and salty food consumption within sensible limits:

  • What level of caffeine intake is considered healthy is a subject of ongoing debate; it really depends on individual tolerance. For adults, keeping consumption to less than 4 cups (400mg) a day is generally advisable.
  • The lower risk guidelines for alcohol consumption are less than 14 units per week. It’s also a good idea to not drink alcohol too close to bedtime, to avoid needing to get up to pee in the night.
  • The adult reference intake guideline for salt is no more than 2-6 grams per day.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight can also be beneficial to urinary health, by reducing the risk of developing conditions such as urinary incontinence.

How much water should we drink?

Staying hydrated (with the right type of fluids) remains important. Previously, the 8 glasses of water a day rule (which equates to about two litres) has been widely held as the ideal daily intake. But no two people are the same, and individual needs may vary. Some people can remain healthy on less, whereas those who exercise a lot may need more.

(Someone may also need to drink more water during hot weather conditions, or if they’re ill and losing lots of fluid because they’re being sick or experiencing diarrhoea.)

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a sufficient level of fluid intake (this would include fluids consumed from food and other beverages, as well as water) for an adult residing in a temperate climate is 2.7 litres per day for women and 3.7 litres per day for men. This would equate to roughly 11 and 15 half-pint glasses respectively.

However, Mayo Clinic advises that someone who is seldom thirsty and passes urine which is either colourless or light yellow likely consumes an adequate amount of fluid. Soft stools are also an indication of adequate fluid intake.

Someone who isn’t drinking enough water will typically pass urine which is dark yellow, and may pass stools which are hard.

Although rare, it is possible to drink too much water; this can upset the balance of minerals in the body and lead to health issues. Some people with certain conditions, such as kidney problems or heart failure, may also need to keep their fluid intake within a certain limit. It’s best to speak to a doctor in such cases before raising fluid consumption.