Nocturia might sound like the name of a furry weasel-like creature that goes hunting for a prey at night but… well, one of those is right. Nocturia does involve frequent nighttime activity, but the victims of the symptom are humans. To put it simply, nocturia is the feeling that wakes you up every night to visit the bathroom. People often treat it nothing more than an inconvenience, yet the condition might become the cause of other, more serious problems if overlooked for too long. This is especially true for the elderly, who can suffer a fall while attending their urges.
The Causes of Nocturia
Official publications pointed out that the chances of nocturia occurring increases with each passing year. 20-30% of mature adults in their 50s are diagnosed with this symptom, while almost every second elderly above 70 suffers from it. In case you are among the victims as well, then know that it is hormone imbalances or vesical problems that are to be blamed. Interestingly, drinking less doesn’t seem to cure the problem, as the fluids amass in the patient’s leg only to come back when they are lying on the bed. Furthermore, experimenting with fluid intake just added dehydration to the pile of issues seniors must deal with.
No Cure, Only Management Strategies
The sad truth is that there are no shortcuts for ending your nightly visits to the bathroom. In some cases when nocturia is caused by prostate obstruction or an overacting bladder, surgical operation could be an answer, but for most people physicians recommend a lifestyle change. Drinking less caffeine and alcohol is a good start, especially before bedtime. Unless your aging relative suffers from bladder failure problems, compression stockings are also a good option because they prevent fluids from stacking up in the legs. Also, take a long hard look at the senior’s medication list. Nocturia is often the side effect of certain drugs related to increasing fluid passing in the body.
The Unseen Consequences of Nocturia
Although it might start as a minor nuisance, nighttime bladder problems could lead to severe consequences, especially for the elderly. Seniors are already light sleepers, meaning that frequent trips to the bathroom not only prevent the aging patient from getting a good night sleep, but also their spouse too. A disrupted sleeping pattern prompts the elderly person to start taking naps during the daytime, which in turn further prevents them from falling asleep at night. Not to mention abnormal sleeping can cause stress, disinterest in social life and depression.
The other problem associated with bladder issues is the risk of falling. It’s commonly known that the bathroom and the stairs are the most accident-prone places in a senior’s house. This is coupled by the fact that most hallways are badly lit, making the safe navigation at night almost impossible. Luckily there are several tips on how to make the house fall-proof, but we also recommend opting for a medical alert pendant with fall detection, because they can literally save the life of a fallen elderly person.