I'm peeing a LOT and drinking a ton of water. All blood work has come back normal. So what could it be, besides diabetes?
May 29, 2011 12:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm peeing a LOT and drinking a ton of water. All blood work has come back normal. So what could it be, besides diabetes?

I'm kind of going crazy here and don't know what to do. On and off over the last few years, I've had periods where I have to pee a lot, particularly at night (but maybe I've been drinking more water then). It's actually a lot of wee, not just the urge to urinate. At first I thought it was because I was trying to lose weight, and habitually drinking instead of overeating, which was probably true.

But I've been concerned, so over these few years I've had two fasting blood glucose tests, one random blood glucose test from a diabetic friend with a meter, and one random urine test given as part of a job-related physical. The most recent test was two months ago, when these symptoms had recurred. Each time, I've dreaded the results. Each time, they've come back NORMAL (as my family and friends all predicted).

Which is a relief, but I'm wondering what else could be going on? Sometimes the peeing a lot is associated with thirst, sometimes it's not. It doesn't seem to have much to do with what I eat. I recently emerged from a long stressful period in my life, and would hate to add another stressor to my life just when it's finally going well. I'm still young and there's so much I want to experience. I also don't want to "cry wolf" again and have to pay for any more unnecessary medical tests. So what should I do? Any ideas as to what might possibly be going on with my stupid wee?
posted by tamagogirl to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
'But I've been concerned, so over these few years I've had two fasting blood glucose tests, one random blood glucose test from a diabetic friend with a meter, and one random urine test given as part of a job-related physical. The most recent test was two months ago, when these symptoms had recurred. Each time, I've dreaded the results. Each time, they've come back NORMAL"

Your symptoms may well be due to something unrelated to diabetes but in my opinion (and IANYD) the above tests do no rule out diabetes entirely.

To be able to rule out diabetes you will need to get your blood tested for HBA1C and probably also a post parandial glucose level.

You may not have diabetes but it is good to rule it out....
posted by london302 at 12:48 AM on May 29, 2011

Do you drink any caffeine or alcohol at all?

They can really have an effect on things.
posted by fantasticninety at 1:00 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could you be pregnant?
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 1:02 AM on May 29, 2011

Visit an OB-GYN for a checkup - could be cysts or fibroids, which your doctor may be able to detect during a pap smear. There are also more thorough tests if they don't find anything and you want to be sure.

In particular, cysts shrink and grow, which can cause periods of urgent peeing only when they're large enough to press on the bladder.
posted by lesli212 at 1:15 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I assume they also tested for a bladder infection and not just for diabetes?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:38 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry guys, but
1. I'm not pregnant.
2. I don't drink much caffeine, just a diet soda very occasionally.
3. It's not just urgency - there's actually a lot of urine coming out. (Sorry to be so graphic.)
posted by tamagogirl at 1:39 AM on May 29, 2011

Two thoughts:

You take a medication that makes you thirsty and/or causes dry mouth -> You drink a lot of water -> You have a high urine volume?


your diet is high in salt (bread, processed foods, takeaway/fast food) -> You drink a lot of water -> You have a high urine volume?
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 1:52 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't take any medication except for a women's one-a-day multivitamin. I do, however, eat more salty/processed food than I should, and then drink water to balance out the sodium. I notice that I ate more high-sodium food today than usual, and tonight the peeing has really been something else. If it was diabetes, how come this seems to have nothing to do with how much/how many carbs I eat? I can totally pig out on junk one day, and pee less than usual that night. This week, I've eaten particularly healthy, and it's off the charts. What gives?
posted by tamagogirl at 2:04 AM on May 29, 2011

You should go see a doctor, instead of trying to rule out diabetes mellitus using a friend's glucometer and a urine test.
posted by gramcracker at 2:23 AM on May 29, 2011 [13 favorites]

I used to drink too much and pee too much. One thing that can happen is that if you get used to drinking too much, it causes a bladder problem where your bladder gets irritated and used to it so you need to pee, so you need to drink and so on. I can't seem to google it, I had the name before sorry.

You could try drinking a bit less, watching what you drink but still a healthy amount.

However, I'd say cut out the salty processed food. It's not as reductionist as saying you can just drink water to balance the sodium, there are always nuances. Junk food's gonna fuck you up one way or another, end of. Maybe this is a wake up call.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:24 AM on May 29, 2011

Bladder gets irritated and expanded. Drink a bit less, until it shrinks back.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:25 AM on May 29, 2011

I've noticed that when I'm eating a very low carb/high protein diet, I pee a lot.

You can see some of the reasons behind that here. If you're constantly cycling between low carb and high carb, you could just be getting rid of your glycogen frequently.
posted by Kronur at 2:26 AM on May 29, 2011

Diabetes insipidus is totally unrelated to diabetes mellitus...you might want to get you kidneys and pituitary checked.

posted by aquafortis at 2:52 AM on May 29, 2011

Mild polycycstic ovarian syndrome can raise your body's insulin levels, which makes you thirsty all the time and therefore need to go to the bathroom.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:31 AM on May 29, 2011

I'm peeing a LOT and drinking a ton of water.

Just out of curiosity: how much is "a ton" approximately?
posted by swordfishtrombones at 4:56 AM on May 29, 2011

If you're drinking a "ton" of water, you're going to pee a lot. What goes in must come out. Why would you think there's something wrong with you? Sure, go ahead and have a few more tests run if it will help your peace of mind. If you find that it doesn't, though, have you thought about discussing these feelings with a counselor or therapist? (I make that suggestion in complete seriousness.)
posted by pecanpies at 5:09 AM on May 29, 2011

Sometimes when you're losing weight you'll go through periods of SUPER PEEING, particularly when coming off a plateau. (We learned about this in a college nutrition class I took and there were various interesting theories, but the point is, if you're dieting, or losing weight for other reasons, it's reasonably normal if it comes and goes.)

The more you drink, the better your bladder tends to get at "holding" it ... if you're used to going six times a day and start drinking a lot more water, eventually your bladder will stop making you go 10 times a day and let you go 6 times again, but with a lot more pee at once.

You've had the tests, they're all normal; what else do you need to hear? Healthy humans pee. (Also, you're kinda catastrophizing diabetes itself, not just your peeing -- you can do pretty much anything you want when the diabetes is well-controlled. Maybe your anxiety is super-high after coming off this anxious period in your life and you're just USED to worrying too much about things.) Not to diminish your intuition -- sometimes you know there's SOMETHING wrong with you even when it isn't clear what. But what do you need your doctor to tell you to know that everything's normal? What will cause you to quit worrying?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:46 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

PS -- it's usually normal for women (and men, for that matter) to have to start getting up in the night to pee at some point in adulthood. It doesn't mean you're old; it just means you're not 22 anymore. Some of it is just that as you get a little older you typically sleep more lightly, so the urge is more likely to wake you.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:49 AM on May 29, 2011

I know that at certain points in my menstrual cycle I will be bloated and retaining water. Then I eventually become...un-bloated. All that water weight has to go somewhere, I assume I am peeing it out. Have you kept track to see if your high volume days are related to your cycle?
posted by fancyoats at 6:05 AM on May 29, 2011

First, go see an actual doctor to rule out diabetes.

Second, there are a bunch of possibilities about the peeing (again, some of which you will need to see a doctor to rule out). You could have a chronic, low-grade bladder or urinary tract infection. You could have cysts. You could have an overactive bladder. Something you are eating could be irritating your bladder.

And, quite likely, "drinking a ton" simply means "peeing a ton."

Assuming you have access to medical care, my suggestion is to make an appointment with someone who specializes in bladder issues -- probably a urologist, but there are nurse practitioners and others who have this specialty. Particularly for women who have had a few kids, bladder issues of all sorts are super common, so this isn't some rare or weird thing to be asking about. They might make you fill out a fluid intake/peeing record for a week or so; there are more and less intrusive tests; and there are a very large array of medications and bio-feedback techniques that can work quite well. (There are also other tools you can bring to bear on this, like acupuncture, that tend to work well, but the medical specialist is still the first stop.)

But you aren't going to diagnose this on your own, or by asking people on the internet. You need an actual doctor who can run actual tests and rule out both super serious issues (bladder cancer, diabetes, etc) and super minor issues.
posted by Forktine at 6:13 AM on May 29, 2011

[Sometime I think I need a sockpuppet....]

Anxiety and stress probably play into this. When I'm anxious I have the same thing. I used to worry about diabetes until I noticed once that when a particular source of stress abruptly vanished, so did the problem - like, within an hour. When I'm anxious or overthinky it comes back. Diet soda and caffeine make it worse.
posted by Frowner at 7:22 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're peeing a lot because you're drinking a lot of water.

Why are you drinking a lot of water? Could be dry mouth caused by any number of factors. Could be a habit or OCD tic. Could be because, as you said in your follow up comment, you're intentionally drinking a ton to balance out the sodium in your diet.

Either stop drinking so much water and see what happens, or go talk to your GP for an actual medical opinion.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:14 AM on May 29, 2011

Seconding Frowner about the possibility of this being largely psychosomatic and stress-related.

A few years ago I posted this response to a similar question.

I'm going to go with Sticherbeast and suggest that this is a result of stress or anxiety, and of having trained your body to send the "I have to pee!!!" message to your brain way too early. I have the same problem; when I'm stressed or anxious, I have to use the bathroom a lot, and then I start worrying about how frequently I have to use the bathroom, and that makes it even worse. I also have the pain you describe, maybe once or twice a month; my current theory is that it's some kind of spasm or other muscle issue.

For me, what set the problem off was one particular day when I was really stressed out, went out to a restaurant and drank a lot of water, and then had to stop multiple times on the (half-hour) trip home to use the bathroom (and I was with a group of people, so it was somewhat embarrassing). That freaked me out, and for a few months afterward, whenever I would go out of the apartment I'd constantly feel like I had to use the bathroom (because when you're actively thinking about the state of your bladder, you can pretty much always feel like you have to use the bathroom). After a few months I calmed down a little and the problem has pretty much been resolving itself. I do find that caffeine (particularly coffee) can irritate my bladder and make the problem recur, though.

At this point the problem is pretty much resolved except in situations of extreme stress. Last year I was moving away from home for a long but temporary period -- but leaving my partner behind -- and as soon as we finished packing the car I started panicking and had to pee. Then I had to stop five minutes into the drive to pee. Then I had to stop ten minutes after that. Basically, for the first hour and a half of the drive I was stopping at every rest stop. And I really did need to pee -- it's like my bladder was capable of generating infinite amounts of liquid. But eventually I calmed down, and by hour 3 I was perfectly fine. For me that was the "holy shit, my brain really is capable of doing this" moment that convinced me that this was a purely psychosomatic problem. Which doesn't, y'know, cure it, but it does help keep me from panicking when it happens (and panicking only makes it worse).
posted by pluckemin at 8:35 AM on May 29, 2011

I had this exact set of symptoms. It turned out to be related to a fibroid tumor. The fibroid was pressing on my bladder, creating urgency. The thirst was due to anemia (I was having heavy periods at the time).

I also went through the diabetes testing, (once in an urgent care situation, then with my endocrinologist). Then my primary care doctor also ordered a test for diabetes insipidus which is completely is related to the pituitary gland, and completely unrelated to blood sugar. Everything came back normal.

At that point my doctor sort of dismissed me. Two months later I had to practically beg for an ultrasound, which finally revealed the tumor. So my advise is to ask for an abdominal/pelvic ultrasound, just to rule out anything gynecological.

A question- are you getting up multiple times during the night to pee and/or drink? If yes, then it's probably not psychological.
posted by kimdog at 8:49 AM on May 29, 2011

That's a good point, kimdog -- I never had the problem while I was asleep, since obviously my brain couldn't somaticize my anxiety when I was unconscious
posted by pluckemin at 9:37 AM on May 29, 2011

All my life I've craved salt. And I drink a lot of fluids, and then I drink more because I spend a lot of time outside. Turns out this is precisely right for me, since I have POTS and one of the treatments is to take salt (even more than I already eat!) and drink tons of fluids, to keep my blood pressure up as much as possible.

Nothing in your question resembles POTS, so I'm not suggesting your problem is POTS, but there may be other issues where elevating your own blood pressure makes you feel better. If you rule out other stuff and still don't have any answers, maybe there's something helpful in pursuing that avenue.
posted by galadriel at 9:52 AM on May 29, 2011

Thanks, but three out of four tests (fasting glucose, random urine and A1C) were professional procedures, done by doctors in labs.

@Eyebrows McGee, Frowner
Yeah, I am still trying to lose weight (I'm only about 10 pounds overweight), and might be coming off a plateau. This happened at the start of my diet and fitness regimen as well. And maybe my anxiety's making it worse - last night I was a nervous wreck.
posted by tamagogirl at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2011

How many times are you getting up to pee at night? When you get up to pee at night, do you also drink water?
posted by KathrynT at 11:35 AM on May 29, 2011

Yeah, the answer to this depends on what you mean by "a lot" and "a ton". How many times per day are you peeing? Is your bladder full every time you do?

If your answer is "eight" that's one thing. If it is "eighteen" that's something else entirely.
posted by Justinian at 12:12 PM on May 29, 2011

If it was diabetes, how come this seems to have nothing to do with how much/how many carbs I eat? I can totally pig out on junk one day, and pee less than usual that night. This week, I've eaten particularly healthy, and it's off the charts. What gives?

This happens to me. For me, the foods I eat when I eat healthy -- oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables -- are made up of more water than processed foods. When I eat oatmeal for breakfast or a lot of fruit during the day, I pee high volume pretty frequently. The difference is noticeable. Also, I've found that if I'm eating less and drinking a lot of water, the water goes through me faster.
posted by unannihilated at 12:47 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I submit to you that a significant amount of water intake requires a commensurate release of same.
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:59 PM on May 29, 2011

Seconding the thought that it could be diabetes insipidus. That was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read your question. This version has nothing to do with sugar - it's about hormones and kidneys working right.
posted by cadge at 1:47 PM on May 29, 2011

I really think you'd need more info from the OP before jumping to diabetes insipidus. We have no idea what "a lot" means.
posted by Justinian at 1:50 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

When you eat carbohydrates, you retain water. That water comes off when you don't eat many for a day or two. That is completely normal. If you are eating junk every handful of days, you will feel like you are peeing constantly, and a lot, because you are. I eat high carb one day a week and it happens like clockwork.

Especially if you're drinking a lot of water. Your body can only retain so much. If you drink a "lot" of water you will pee a "lot."
posted by Nattie at 2:28 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have to pee a lot, particularly at night
Could you be experiencing sleep apnea?
posted by kbar1 at 2:47 PM on May 29, 2011

I drink a lot of water. Like easily a gallon or two a day plus three or four cups of tea or soda. I'm almost always thirsty. I don't get how people can go all day not drinking! I think part of it is that I got used to it following a long regimen of steroids that left me with dry mouth and throat. With the exception of an occasional low level of a few water soluble vitamins like potassium, it doesn't affect much but my constant need to go to the bathroom. That being said, it was just suggested to me by a nurse that it may be related to my snoring and possible sleep apnea. Either way, if you're thirsty, drink! Good luck figuring things out, long diagnostic searches are the worst.
posted by gilsonal at 4:35 PM on May 29, 2011

I'd like to second the people who say visit your ob/gyn to rule out cysts/fibroids. I had something like this that made me pee a lot more than before. Once it was removed, things were back to normal.
posted by echo0720 at 5:46 PM on May 29, 2011

I find that sometimes my cycle affects my thirst/peeing levels. Right before I'm due, thirsty constantly. Then when it starts, back to normal. I suggest keeping a food diary. Note your health levels and your cycle as well. Might put your mind at ease.
posted by clone boulevard at 10:06 PM on May 29, 2011

Okay, I just peed 4 times in 3 hours. Woke up with dry mouth, and it's been kind of dry all day. Haven't eaten anything. Oh my god I am scared to death.
posted by tamagogirl at 1:05 PM on May 30, 2011

That's only half the equation. What is your fluid intake like?

Let me put it another way: If you abstain from fluids completely, do you continue to urinate the same amount or does your output decrease? Note: Do not kill yourself from dehydration testing this.
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2011

Okay, I just peed 4 times in 3 hours.

Honestly, I wouldn't call that a ton, I have a condition that causes excessive thirstiness, and excessive to me is 3 times in an hour.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:30 AM on May 31, 2011

If you don't mind my asking, what's your condition? You can PM me if you'd like.
posted by tamagogirl at 12:53 PM on May 31, 2011

You need to take a deep breath and relax. I know you're worried about all the horrible things these symptoms could be indicative of-all us hypochondriacs go through this. I've been convinced I've had cancer symptoms probably 20 times in my life Odds are it's nothing and you ar just a person that pees a lot. Maybe even allergies. Go see a doctor if you really go crazy.
posted by Patbon at 1:45 AM on June 3, 2011

Thanks mefi community for all your helpful answers. I think something IS going on with me, but it may not be diabetes (three professional blood/urine tests have come back normal, and I'm not extremely hungry, a hallmark of diabetes mellitus - in fact, my appetite is down). I've told two close friends about this problem, and hopefully they can give me advice on the next step to take, or which doctor to call.
posted by tamagogirl at 11:14 AM on June 3, 2011

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