The need to pee at night (nocturia) -- which affects most people
over the age of 60 -- is related to the amount of salt in your diet, according
to new research presented at the European Society of Urology congress in
people over the age of 60 (and a substantial minority under 60) wake up one or
more times during the night to go to the bathroom. This is nightime peeing, or
Although it seems a simple problem, the lack of sleep can lead to
other problems such as stress, irritability or tiredness, and so can have a
significant negative impact on quality of life.
There are several possible
causes of nocturia. Now a group of Japanese scientists have discovered that
reducing the amount of salt in one's diet can significantly reduce excessive peeing
-- both during the day and when asleep.
group of researchers from Nagasaki University, led by Dr Matsuo Tomohiro, has
studied salt intake in a group of 321 men and women who had a high salt intake
and had problems sleeping -- Japanese people tend to have a higher than average
The patients were given guidance and support to reduce salt
consumption. They were followed for 12 weeks, and salt consumption measured
members of the group were able to reduce their salt intake from 10.7 gm per day
to 8.0 gm/day.
In this group, the average night-time frequency of urination
dropped from 2.3 times/night to 1.4 times. In contrast, 98 subjects increased
their average salt intake from 9.6 gm/night to 11.0 gm/night, and they found that
the need to urinate increased from 2.3 times/night to 2.7 times/night.
researchers also found that daytime urination was reduced when salt in the diet
reduction in the need to go to the bathroom at night caused a marked
improvement in the quality of life of the participants, as measured by the
standard CLSS-QoL questionnaire.
Tomohiro said, "This is the first study to measure how salt intake affects
the frequency of going to the bathroom, so we need to confirm the work with
Night- time urination is a real problem for many people,
especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simply
dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many
Dr Marcus Drake (Bristol, UK), Working Group Lead for the EAU Guidelines Office
Initiative on Nocturia, said: "This is an important aspect of how patients
potentially can help themselves to reduce the impact of frequent urination.
Research generally focusses on reducing the amount of water a patient drinks,
and the salt intake is generally not considered. Here we have a useful study
showing how we need to consider all influences to get the best chance of
improving the symptom."