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I have to get up often during the night to urinate. Is this related to my MS?

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Updated May 02, 2008

Question: I have to get up often during the night to urinate. Is this related to my MS?
Answer: Probably. It is estimated that up to 96% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) will experience some form of bladder dysfunction at some point. The clinical name for what you are describing is “noturia,” which is defined by different sources as “excessive urination at night,” “needing to rise from sleep to urinate” or “getting up two or more times during the night to urinate.” I think this is a little misleading -- it is the urge to urinate, and not the volume that gets us up, as often there is just a little "dribble" after all that effort.

I know that this can be a very frustrating symptom of MS. Spending time in the middle of the night not sleeping makes fatigue worse, and for me that can aggravate my other MS symptoms. If this problem significantly interferes with sleep, see a doctor.

Tips to Manage Nocturia:

  • Stay cool at night. Getting hot will aggravate all symptoms, including urinary frequency.
  • Do NOT try to manage this by cutting back on liquids, as this may make things worse, as well as lead to a urinary tract infection (UTIs).
  • Drink cranberry juice to prevent UTIs (urinary tract infections). I have also found that for some reason it helps with nocturia.
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    5. Multiple Sclerosis and Frequent Urination at Night - MS and Nocturia

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