Interview with Dr. Benjamin Brucker, Department of Urology at NYU

September 12, 2018

Sleepless nights can be costly. They interfere with daily activities and work productivity and leave one feeling tired and irritable. If left untreated, sleep loss can result in serious medical consequences. A leading cause of sleep loss is a medical condition called nocturia, which a staggering 72 percent of American adults have never heard of, according to a new Harris Poll and endorsed by Caregiver Action Network, The Simon Foundation, the National Association for Continence and Prostate Conditions Education Council.

Nocturia forces individuals to get up two or more times per night to urinate. The condition has many contributing causes, but in most cases, it is caused by the kidneys producing too much urine at night. The poll shows that while nocturia may affect more than a third of U.S. adults, 64 percent of Americans have no idea it is a diagnosable, treatable medical condition. Worse yet, 66 percent of nocturia sufferers surveyed have never talked to their doctor/healthcare professional about it, with half (50 percent) saying they thought it was a normal part of aging and 27 percent believing there was nothing that could be done.                         

Nocturia is often confused with overactive bladder or enlarged prostate symptoms, but 70 percent of Americans waking up at night to urinate at least twice are not experiencing urinary frequency or urgency symptoms during the day, which means they are likely experiencing symptoms of nocturia.

The effects of awakening multiple times during the night are not only bothersome but can lead to serious and even dangerous medical consequences. The poll showed that a stunning 72 percent of nocturia sufferers are affected at night, revealing that they can’t get back to sleep (43 percent), they wake up their partner (12 percent) and they are nervous about tripping or falling when walking to the bathroom (10 percent). In fact, this worry has merit: one in four Americans aged 65 and over fall each year, and every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, according to the National Council on Aging.3 The cost of these nocturia-related falls in older adults is estimated to be $1.5 billion annually.

The effects of nocturia are also felt during the day. In fact, 61 percent of nocturia sufferers experience symptoms such as drowsiness or tiredness (42 percent), irritability (21 percent), issues with their ability to get things done (17 percent) and trouble concentrating (15 percent).