Waking up at night because of irresistible urge to urinate most commonly means that you had a bit too much to drink in the evening, even if it was just water. Bladder full to bursting naturally has to get emptied. But, if it happens several times at night, you will not get enough sleep and will wake up cranky in the morning. A group of Japanese scientists found that some of us naturally have bladders with smaller capacity and that we have to thank to our genes for that.
Bladder and protein
The research Japanese scientists did on mice gave them a very promising result: they found a protein connexin43 in the bladder muscle cells. Having more or less of this protein controls how much urine our bladder can contain and how long can we wait until having to pee. The presence of this protein is controlled by our genes, and scientists are very hopeful that, by controlling its production, they might be able to control frequent night urination.
Another interesting result of the same research is the link between night urination and natural circadian rhythm. A person with normal circadian rhythm uses the night to rest and sleep, and is less inclined to have to have to pee at night. People who have random sleeping pattern and do not follow night/day rhythm of activity and sleep also have irregular rhythm of having to empty their bladder. The reason for this is the fact that the bladder muscle cells have an internal clock, and show oscillations in the production of connexin43. So, if you are a night awl, be prepared to have your bladder out of sync as well.
It is not only genes
Of course, the findings of Japanese scientists work for people who are healthy. There is not much we can do about our genetics, but we can eliminate potential health issues as the reason for night urination.
You will know if you have bladder or urinary tract infection because it is usually so painful you will not be able to function. Before going to see the doctor, as soon as you feel even the slight signs of urinary infection, try old, but highly effective remedy: large quantity of cranberry juice. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidin, a type of flavanol that prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract. That way bacteria can get flushed out before infecting your bladder.
Frequent urge to empty bladder, during the day or night, can be an early symptom of diabetes. It might mean that your body is trying to get rid of unused glucose through the urine.
An enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine, irritating the bladder and making it contract even if it is not full.
Use of diuretics
Some medications used to control high blood pressure or fluid buildup work as diuretics. They affect kidneys in an attempt to flush excess fluid. Caffeine is also a diuretic, and many diet supplements contain one or more diuretic compounds. Diuretics will definitively make you go to the bathroom more often, day or night.
If you are bothered by having to go to the bathroom once or a few times, first check with your doctor to eliminate any health problems. If everything is fine, blame your nightly bathroom visits to your ancestors. It is all in the genes.