Many people every night wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom, and in most cases they think nothing of it. When it happens multiple times a night, there’s new reason to be concerned. New research shows nocturia, or frequent overnight urination, signals a higher risk of dying.
The study released by the American Urological Association found the elevated risk applies to men and women of all ages.
Death rates were highest for men with nocturia aged 20 to 40. Women between 50 and 64 were also among the most at-risk.
The authors at the New England Research Institutes discovered the relationship by comparing mortality rates to responses about nighttime urination in a national survey conducted between 1988 and 1994.
The data was adjusted to account for a number of confounding risk factors, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
The authors suggest the increased risk of death may be due to any combination of outside risk factors causing sleep disruption. In some cases using the bathroom may happen after waking up for reasons other than needing to urinate.
For instance, people with obstructive sleep apnea may wake because of a pause in breathing and make a trip to the bathroom. Individuals with insomnia may also get out of bed frequently, possibly due to anxiety.
Both insomnia and sleep apnea have been linked to higher mortality rates.
Further research is needed to determine exactly why people who frequently wake up to urinate have a higher risk of death.