Can Frequent Urination Be a Symptom of Diabetes?

Frequent urination may be an early sign of diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by the body’s impaired ability to produce or respond to insulin as it should, leading to high blood sugar (glucose) levels. When blood sugar levels are too high, the kidneys must work harder to eliminate excess glucose from the blood. This can cause excessive thirst and frequent urination.

Diabetes is not the only cause of frequent urination. There are many potential reasons you may be peeing more often than usual. This article explores the connection between frequent urination and diabetes, treatment options, and when to see your healthcare provider.

Person using toilet paper

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What Is Frequent Urination? 

Frequent urination (polyuria) is when you need to pee many times throughout the day. Most people urinate six to seven times per day, though “normal” can range between four to 10 times in a 24-hour period.

Several factors can influence how often you pee throughout the day, including your age, how much fluid you drink in a day, the types of fluids you drink (caffeinated or alcohol), and whether you are on medications that help rid the body of fluids (e.g., diuretics). Incomplete emptying of the bladder, spine issues, or an enlarged prostate can also contribute to frequent urination.

If you are urinating frequently and have a fever, blood or puss in your urine, body aches, back or side pain, or vomiting, seek immediate medical help.

Is Frequent Urination a Symptom of Diabetes? 

Frequent urination is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes. If you are peeing more than usual, it may be a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high and your kidneys are eliminating excess sugar from the bloodstream.

Usually, when the kidneys create urine, they reabsorb filtered sugar and direct it back into the bloodstream. In people with diabetes, blood sugar levels get too high and the kidneys cannot keep up, so excess sugar is eliminated through the urine. This process can cause dehydration and leave you feeling excessively thirsty. As you drink more fluids to satiate your thirst, it leads to frequent urination.

Treatments and Management of Frequent Urination

Frequent urination can be managed by treating its underlying cause. If diabetes is the reason you’re peeing more often than usual, your healthcare provider will develop a treatment plan to help control your blood sugar levels.  

Diabetes treatments are designed to balance blood sugar levels and reduce symptoms of the condition. Common diabetes treatments include:

  • Insulin: This is the most common diabetes treatment, prescribed to lower blood sugar levels. Insulin may be administered via injection, through a pump, or by using an inhaler.  
  • Oral medications: Many different medications can be taken by mouth to treat diabetes. Most people with type 2 diabetes are prescribed metformin in pill or liquid form to help the body use insulin better and lower blood sugar levels. 

Certain lifestyle modifications may help manage frequent urination caused by diabetes, such as: 

  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption: These beverages are diuretics and cause water loss through urine.
  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diabetes-friendly diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein and low in carbohydrates and processed sugar can help manage blood sugar levels. Minimizing acidic or spicy food may also help.
  • Exercising: Regular physical activity can help control blood sugar levels and lower the risk of diabetes-related complications. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each week. 

When to See Your Healthcare Provider 

If you do not have a diabetes diagnosis but suspect it may be the cause of your frequent trips to the bathroom, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider. They will perform a physical exam, ask about your symptoms, and may order tests to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Along with excessive thirst and frequent urination, common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased hunger 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Fatigue
  • Numb or tingling hands and feet
  • Dry skin 
  • Sores that heal slowly

If you have a diabetes diagnosis and continue to experience excessive thirst and frequent urination, this may be a sign that your blood sugar levels are not well controlled. Talk to your healthcare provider, who may adjust your treatment plan to help your blood sugar levels return close to normal.

Summary

Frequent urination is a common symptom of diabetes and is often one of the earliest signs of the disease. When blood sugar levels are higher than normal, the kidneys cannot effectively filter all of the excess sugar and, instead, it is eliminated through the urine. This process can lead to excessive thirst, causing people to drink more fluids and pee more frequently. 

Diabetes can be managed through insulin injections, oral medications and lifestyle modifications, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. If you are taking medications to manage diabetes and continue to urinate frequently, it may be a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high, and your treatment plan needs to be adjusted. 

A Word From Verywell 

Diabetes is a common cause of frequent urination but is not the only reason you may be making more bathroom trips than usual. Other potential causes include urinary tract infection (UTI), drinking high amounts of fluid, consuming caffeine or alcohol, anxiety, and an overactive bladder.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you have new or unusual symptoms affecting your health and quality of life. Your provider can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does diabetes cause frequent urination?

    Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are too high, the kidneys begin to eliminate sugar through the urine. This process can dehydrate the body and cause excessive thirst. The extra intake of fluids can lead to frequent urination. 

  • How can you stop frequent urination?

    Frequent urination caused by diabetes can be managed by treating the condition with insulin or other medications. Lifestyle modifications such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol and limiting fluid intake two to four hours before bedtime can also help.

  • Are urinary tract infections common in people with diabetes?

    Yes. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in people with type 2 diabetes. Women and older adults with diabetes are especially at risk of developing UTIs.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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