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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

Disturbed nights: a frequent problem with MS

on January 17, 2016

urine night

Oh wonderful, this morning I feel really great because, for once, I have had a decent night’s sleep. The traditional ‘eight hours’ is virtually unknown to me but, last night, I managed nine hours broken by only one interruption in the form of a bathroom break.

In comparison, the previous night, my sleep was broken after the first, second and fourth hours for the same reason and that after ensuring I emptied my bladder before going to bed.

urine urgentProblems with your ‘waterworks’ is one of the things associated with multiple sclerosis and is one that many of us with the illness tend not to talk about because it can be embarrassing to admit to having less control than most people. My own experience, and here I cannot talk for everyone with this condition, is that when I first feel the need to urinate, I need to go NOW. Putting it off for half an hour just isn’t an option.

And, even having just been to the bathroom doesn’t mean I won’t have to go again quickly. On some occasions, it has not been unknown for me to have to make repeat trips every 20 minutes during the daytime but two hours is more usual.

The medical term for a frequent need to get up and go to the bathroom to urinate at night is nocturia.

Most people without nocturia can sleep for six to the magic eight hours without having to urinate. Some researchers believe that one event per night is within normal limits; two or more events per night may be associated with daytime tiredness. Patients with severe nocturia may get up five or six times during the night to go to the bathroom. It is often a symptom of one of many other medical conditions that include multiple sclerosis.

Again, speaking for myself alone, I am not ashamed to admit that for years I have been on medication designed to treat symptoms of overactive bladder, such as frequent or urgent urination, incontinence (urine leakage), and increased night-time urination. It works by reducing muscle spasms of the bladder and urinary tract. It has not eliminated my problem but it most certainly has improved it.

urine signDealing with the daytime issues that remain mean that, when away from home, I need to know the location of the nearest bathroom facilities and be able to get there quickly. Also, to avoid any accidental leakages, in those situations I wear a special pad. I throw away many unused but the old adage ‘better safe than sorry’ comes to mind as, just once in a while, it is necessary.

Getting back to my night-time issues. Waking up when I need to visit the bathroom does not cause any problem but, because standing up makes the need even more urgent, there is sometimes not enough time to get there. To overcome this, I keep a urine bottle by the bed. Again, better safe than sorry.

Anyway, last night was a great night for me so, today I feel wonderfully refreshed and ready to take on the world.


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