A constant need to pee is very common – but it’s still a largely taboo subject.
At least ten million Brits suffer and half are too embarrassed to see a doctor about it.
A similar number feel uncomfortable even discussing it with partners, according to the charity Bladder Health UK.
Here are some of the causes and treatments available.
1. Cause: Type 2 diabetes
Three-quarters of people with diabetes experience excessive thirst and the need to wee more frequently.
When there’s excess glucose in the blood, the kidneys react by trying to flush it out by producing more urine.
How to beat it: See your GP to get your blood glucose levels tested and a treatment plan.
2. Bladder infection
Weeing frequently combined with a burning sensation can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, which happens when harmful bacteria enter the kidneys, bladder or urethra. Urine can also be cloudy or smell bad.
How to beat it: See your GP for a urine test and then a course of antibiotics.
3. Weak pelvic floor
Leaking when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump or lift something heavy probably means you have stress incontinence.
The effects of childbirth are well known, while older women are commonly affected by falling oestrogen levels which change the muscle tone. Weak pelvic floor can also affect men.
How to beat it: Pelvic floor exercises. Locate your pelvic floor muscles by imagining trying to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet. Sit and squeeze the muscles ten times, breathing normally.
Certain medications can trigger an overactive bladder — including diuretics, commonly taken for high blood pressure , and opioid painkillers.
How to beat it: Speak to your GP about possible alternative medication. Exercises can help.
5. Enlarged prostate
Men’s prostate glands grow with age, which can put pressure on the bladder and result in the urge to wee more often.
How to beat it: Making lifestyle changes such as stopping drinking liquids an hour before bed, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and exercising regularly.
Those with moderate to severe symptoms are often prescribed the medication finasteride or dutasteride.
These block the effects of the hormone DHT on the prostate gland. However, potential side-effects include impotence.
6. Too much tea or coffee
Caffeine in tea and coffee is a diuretic, which triggers increased urination. Alcohol too.
How to beat it: Try switching to decaffeinated varieties or ease up on the booze – and avoid taking in fluids for two hours before going to bed.
7. Too much salt
Researchers have discovered that lowering your salt intake can also lower your need to use the loo. Similar to diabetics, your kidneys dry to balance the salt in your blood by producing more urine.
How to beat it: The NHS recommends adults eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Always check processed food for content.
8. You’re drinking too much
We all know that water is good for our bodies but if you’re constantly dashing to the toilet, you may be overdoing it. The European Food Safety Authority recommends that men consume 2.5 litres of water and women 2 litres of water a day – but you don’t need to obsess about drinking all of it.
EFSA says that 20-30% of this water intake should come from food – so fruits and veg also contribute. You’ll know you’re adequately hydrated if your wee is a pale straw colour (rather than a darker yellow or brown which indicates you need more liquids).
How to beat it: The answer to this is, of course, drinking less. Keep a record of how much you drinkin with an app, such as Daily Water or Hydro Coach.
9. Stress incontinence
If you leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump or lift something heavy, you probably have stress incontinence. “These everyday activities can put pressure on the bladder and, if your pelvic floor muscles are unable to tighten enough, can cause accidental leaks,” says Dr Ruth Maher, physical therapist and inventor of INNOVO, a pelvic floor strengthening device ( restorethefloor.com ).
How to beat it: Pelvic floor exercises can help. You can locate your pelvic floor muscles if you imagine trying to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet.
Sit and squeeze the muscles 10 times while breathing normally. Don’t tighten your stomach, buttocks or thighs.