Diabetes is a chronic disease that has become a threat all over the world. It is characterized by high blood sugar levels and is caused primarily by insulin resistance, or a lack of insulin production. This can lead to fatal complications when left untreated.
Diabetes can be difficult to deal with, as it requires an array of lifestyle changes – especially in the diet – to combat it. Failing to do so can result in symptoms like frequent urination, fatigue, dehydration, blurry vision, numb limbs, etc.
Frequent urination is one of the common symptoms of diabetes that can affect your daily life. However, it can be managed with a few lifestyle tweaks.
In this article, we explore the causes of this symptom and how we can prevent it.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic medical condition that affects how the body metabolizes glucose (sugar), leading to high levels of sugar in the blood.
Glucose is an important source of energy for the body’s cells and is derived from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps the body absorb and use glucose for energy.
People who suffer from diabetes either cannot produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin their body produces, leading to high levels of glucose in the blood.
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes:
Previously known as juvenile-onset diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that results in the body’s immune system attacking and destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas because these cells are perceived to be a threat to the body.
This leads to a lack of insulin, which requires the affected person with type 1 diabetes to take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes:
Previously known as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin, and the pancreas may not produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and a diet high in sugar and saturated fats can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, which can make it harder for the body to use insulin effectively. This can result in increased blood sugar levels, which could be harmful to both the mother and the baby.
Gestational diabetes usually develops in the second half of pregnancy, and can often be managed with diet and exercise. However, in some cases, medication or insulin injections may be necessary to control blood sugar levels.
Diabetes Symptoms and Management
The symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow-healing sores or cuts. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications like heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness.
Managing diabetes involves incorporating lifestyle changes like consuming a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and monitoring blood sugar levels.
Medications, such as insulin, and oral medications may also be used to manage blood sugar levels. With effective management, people with diabetes can have long, healthy, fulfilling lives.
Frequent Urination Due to Diabetes
Frequent urination, or polyuria, is a common symptom of diabetes. People with diabetes may feel the need to urinate more frequently than usual, and they may produce a large volume of urine each time. This is due to a combination of factors correlated to how our body processes glucose.
In type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin whereas, in type 2 diabetes, the body develops insulin resistance. Insulin is vital in regulating blood sugar levels, as it is responsible for the absorption of blood glucose into the liver, fat cells, and skeletal muscle cells.
Apart from insulin, the kidneys are vital for blood sugar regulation. When sugar levels are low, the kidneys convert substances like lactate and amino acids into glucose and release them into the bloodstream.
The kidney is also responsible for filtering and reabsorbing glucose when sugar levels rise. The body stimulates urine production as a way to dilute blood sugar, in order to combat high blood sugar levels.
Due to insulin resistance, or the body’s inability to produce insulin, in people with diabetes, blood sugar levels rise without control.
This overwhelms the kidneys, as they can’t handle such high blood sugar levels, and resort to excreting it through urine. The body also starts producing more urine to combat high blood sugar levels. These factors lead to frequent urination in people with diabetes.
In addition to frequent urination, people with diabetes may experience other symptoms related to high blood sugar levels, like excessive thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow-healing cuts.
If left untreated, frequent urination due to diabetes can lead to dehydration. It is important for people with diabetes to manage their blood glucose levels and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
How to prevent frequent urination due to diabetes?
There are several ways to prevent frequent urination in people with diabetes:
Managing blood glucose levels:
Excessive urination is caused due to the body’s inability to cope with unregulated high blood sugar levels. This can be corrected by maintaining blood glucose levels within a healthy range. Healthy blood glucose levels can be achieved through lifestyle changes.
Drinking more water can help decrease the concentration of sugar consumed through food. It helps slightly lower blood sugar levels by diluting sugar concentration in the body. It is also vital to stay hydrated to replenish any fluids lost due to high blood sugar levels.
Limiting intake of diuretics:
Diuretics encourage the body to shed water weight, which leads to more urination. Diabetics are already at risk for excessive urination and dehydration. Therefore, diabetics must proactively avoid diuretics, especially easily accessible diuretics like caffeine and alcohol.
Strengthen the pelvic floor:
Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles can contribute to bladder problems, including frequent urination. Kegel exercises can help strengthen these muscles and improve bladder control.
Avoiding bladder irritants:
Certain food and drinks, like spicy food and citrus-based drinks, can irritate the bladder and lead to frequent urination. People with diabetes should avoid bladder irritants to reduce the frequency of urination.
Seeking medical treatment:
In some cases, frequent urination in people with diabetes may be due to an underlying medical condition, such as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). If frequent urination persists, despite lifestyle changes, it is important to seek medical treatment to identify and address the underlying cause.
In some cases, it might be possible to manage blood glucose levels by taking medication. Medical treatment can be enough to treat frequent urination in those cases.
By implementing these strategies, people with diabetes can help prevent or reduce the frequency of urination, and improve their overall quality of life.
Polyuria is caused by unregulated high blood sugar levels, which can be managed by tweaking your lifestyle. Committing to a healthy lifestyle, especially a healthy diet, can help you regulate blood sugar levels with ease.
It will also improve your overall health, and combat other symptoms of diabetes. In some cases, medication might work as well.
Frequent urination can be a difficult problem to deal with when going about your everyday life. To deal with it, on top of dealing with being diabetic, can be quite stressful.
Reaching out to your family and friends can help you deal with this affliction. It is important to speak with your doctor, and your family, to determine the best way forward to handle the situation.
By incorporating suitable lifestyle changes, it will be easier to manage diabetes than it would be if you continue living an unhealthy routine.
Q1: Why do people with diabetes urinate more frequently?
Ans: People with diabetes may urinate more frequently because of high blood glucose levels, which can cause the kidneys to produce more urine to eliminate excess glucose.
Q2: Is frequent urination always a sign of diabetes?
Ans: No, frequent urination can be a symptom of other conditions besides diabetes. However, if frequent urination is accompanied by other symptoms associated with diabetes, such as excessive thirst or fatigue, you should consider speaking to your healthcare provider to determine if diabetes is a possible cause.
Q3: Can frequent urination due to diabetes be prevented?
Ans: Yes, frequent urination due to diabetes can often be prevented or reduced by managing blood glucose levels, staying hydrated, and making lifestyle changes such as limiting caffeine and alcohol, and avoiding bladder irritants. In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary to address an underlying condition causing frequent urination.
Q4: How is frequent urination due to diabetes treated?
Ans: The treatment for frequent urination due to diabetes typically involves managing blood glucose levels through lifestyle changes, medication, or insulin therapy. Staying hydrated is also important to replace the fluids lost through urination. In some cases, treating an underlying condition such as a urinary tract infection or bladder problem may be necessary.
Q5: Is frequent urination due to diabetes a serious condition?
Ans: While frequent urination itself is not typically a serious condition, it can be a symptom of uncontrolled diabetes, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated. It is important for people with diabetes to manage their blood glucose levels and seek medical treatment if frequent urination persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.