My 54-year-old bladder:
March 11, 2011 1:43 AM   Subscribe

Urinary symptoms of an older (54 years) male: are they universal? I get to sleep about 6 hours / night, but am otherwise okay. What have your experiences been with this?

I am awakened EVERY day by the need to urinate. The most sleep I get is about 6 and 1/2 hours. Sometimes I get to sleep a bit more after a trip to the bathroom, but usually not.
I seem to be functioning okay like this, but want to be as I was, sleeping for 7 and 1/2 to 8 hours.
FloMax doesn't work for me. The urologist was less than compassionate with me and told me that the average person my age gets 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night. He suggested Benadryl or saw palmetto (which I have read is useless - I think the urologist knows this).
My prostate is not hypertrophic. The doctor said another possibility is that elastin fibers of my bladder may be being replaced by collagen fibers, consequently the bladder holds less. I am emptying my bladder adequately.
What are your experiences with this phenomenon?
What did your urologist tell you?
Do you have any strategies that help you to deal with this?
posted by noonknight to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How long did you take Flomax?

Flomax works by relaxing the muscles of the prostate and bladder. Over time, this leads to better and better urination control. When I started with BPH problems, I was having to get up and go every two hours through the night. After two months of Flomax, that improved to every four hours. After 3-4 months it improved to six hours. I have been taking the drug for about five years now and sleep through 4-5 nights per week.

Obviously, Flomax isn't for everyone. It was the answer for me. However, you must be patient.
posted by netbros at 4:35 AM on March 11, 2011

If you're looking for data points, I usually get 8 hours but its interrupted. I'm 48 now. I get up once around 3am. I've been doing that since I was 30, which coincided with the time I started working at home and using the bathroom more frequently.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:05 AM on March 11, 2011

I'm 30. For years I would get up at least once a night. I think for me it's a kidney thing because I didn't seem to retain water very well. It'd go right through me.

I started eating much more, put on a lot of lean tissue, and I started Buteyko breathing. Three months later, now I sleep through the night, for the first time in years. My sleep is much less fragmented, and my bladder is much less insistent, for what it's worth.
posted by zeek321 at 5:57 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh! And waking up to pee can be a sign of sleep apnea! Consider a sleep test, and Buteyko breathing is supposed to help that too. I think it's magical.
posted by zeek321 at 5:58 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

As with a lot of medical questions, I think it's important to emphasize how important finding a good doctor is. Yours sounds like he needs to be "fired" and you should try out other urologists until you find one who is compassionate and takes your issues seriously. (And like Zeek321 says, part of taking it seriously is considering whether or not you should be seeing a different kind of specialist, because these kinds of issues overlap; for all we know your sleep issues could be solved via sleep apnea, or by taking Ambien, or having a bedroom with darker shades on the windows.)

If you were local, I'd send you to my urologist. He is kind of a quirky personality, but he took all the things and worries I had really seriously (and that matters, because for a lot of us, even talking about bladder/penis/etc issues isn't totally comfortable), was willing to run through all kinds of options and approaches in ways that made me feel listened to, and after a couple of appointments we found a good solution. The point being, there are good urologists out there, and you deserve to be seeing one.
posted by Forktine at 6:09 AM on March 11, 2011

Is there a reason you don't go back to sleep afterwards? I wake up several times a night to pee. In part, that's because of my blood pressure meds. But in part it's just age.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:23 AM on March 11, 2011

My dad is 58 and he gets up every night. Can't say you're not going to die, but you're not alone.
posted by Patbon at 9:20 AM on March 11, 2011

IANAD. It may help to seek a referral to an endocrinologist, as one function of the body's endocrine system at night is to increase production of vasopressin, which acts on the kidneys to reduce production of urine, and concentrate that urine which is produced, thus extending the time it takes for the bladder to fill to "signalling wake" level. If you aren't producing sufficient levels of vasopressin, as many older men begin to lose, or if your kidneys are less sensitive to the vasopressin you are naturally producing, there may be other drugs or treatments that can help.
posted by paulsc at 9:22 AM on March 11, 2011

It's not universal. My husband, who is almost 52, does not get up at night unless something else wakes him up.
posted by Ery at 9:25 AM on March 11, 2011

I assume you've been tested for diabetes?
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 3:37 PM on March 11, 2011

Consider removing caffeine from your diet. I was going through something similar and tried different things, but the biggest difference was the end of coffee and me. It took about a month for any difference to take place (I don't know why), but it's worth trying.

That, and buckets of cranberry juice...but not right before going to bed :)
posted by fantasticninety at 3:42 PM on March 11, 2011

I used to have this problem. I am 29. I recall I was pretty unfit and unhealthy. I started doing more yoga and martial arts, and eating better. The problem fixed itself shortly after. I now enjoy my all night long sleep.

Another thing that helped is making sure to not drink ANYTHING before you go to sleep, like an hour or 2 before you go to sleep. That may help.
posted by Takeyourtime at 7:14 PM on March 11, 2011

Seconding the sleep apnea. Get tested.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:19 PM on March 13, 2011

I would sack that doctor or at least get a second and third opinion. If Flomax doesn't work--it stopped working for me after a few years--there are many other pharmaceutical options. You just need a doc who will take you seriously and nail down the cause, not just speculate, and then work on the problem.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2011

« Older SMS to PC software.   |   Quicktime X and Quicktime 7 not reading hm100's... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.