The constant urge to urinate especially when the amount of urine which is produced is small can often be an irritant. Yet, it happens to many people at different stages of their lives. Often, it is no more than a minor inconvenience; at other times, it shows there is a fundamental underlying problem with the person. Frequently, such a situation is due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), pregnancy, an enlarged prostate or even an overactive bladder. Having to get up constantly to urinate is a problem that can cause disruptions at meetings, interrupt important proceedings and make long journeys especially by road an ordeal. It is an inconvenience to the traveller and also to the fellow travellers and the irritation is worse when the volume of urine passed is small.
Urinary tract infections usually cause a frequent desire to urinate. The infection can occur anywhere along the urinary tract but the bladder is often the main site where it causes a specific condition known as cystitis. This is a very common type of infection especially in females and it occurs when bacteria are able to gain entrance into the urinary tract. There are other associated symptoms of urinary tract infection and these sometimes are more apparent initially before the patient realises that the volume of the urine passed is small. Some of these other symptoms are the feeling of pain or a cramp-like sensation in the lower abdomen, which is often worse during urination or soon afterwards. Sometimes, the urine passed is cloudy or bloody. The bloody type of urine draws attention from the patient more than any other symptom for obvious reasons. As the condition slowly worsens, there can be a burning sensation occurring in the process of passing urine.
The risk of developing a urinary tract infection can be greatly diminished by imbibing some of these suggested procedures as a routine aspect of personal hygiene. It is a good thing to drink plenty of fluids. This does not only help to flush the urinary system by helping the process of getting rid of waste products but helps very much to prevent the formation of stones. It is also a good habit to urinate whenever you feel the need to especially when there is no social hindrance to doing so. In other words, if there is a suitable convenience available, it is wise to use it at the time rather than hold the urine in until it becomes an emergency. The genitals should be cleaned as often as possible during the course of a single day especially when taking a bath. In cleaning the area, wiping should be from the front to the back and not the other way around. Finally, people should avoid wearing underwear that can trap moisture such as nylon and polyester materials.
Pregnancy is another status that can make women urinate more frequently. In the early stages, this happens because of the production of hormones which increase blood flow to the pelvic region. In the later part of pregnancy, like the third trimester, the urge to urinate is made more frequent because of the increased pressure on the bladder of the increasing weight of the baby. In the entire course of pregnancy, this urge is a constant feature in some way because the urethra becomes even shorter leaving it to be more prone to both developing urinary tract infection and to passing urine a lot more frequently than usual.
The enlargement of the prostate in males is also a feature that promotes the urge to pass urine frequently. The prostate is a small gland underneath the bladder. As men age, it gets bigger in size. The rate of enlargement varies in different men and so the symptoms which it produces are similar but of varying degrees of severity as a result of these individual differences. The pressure it exerts on the bladder as it gets bigger means that the man will feel the need to urinate more often even when the urine in the bladder is small. When the prostate gland has become larger, it can block the urethra partially or completely so that the flow through that portion of the tube that transports both urine and semen becomes impaired. These symptoms of prostate enlargement are seldom seen below the age of 40 years.
Cancer of the prostate, of the ovary or the bladder are other disease conditions that can make a person feel the constant need to pass urine even when the volume of urine to be passed is little. The symptoms which these conditions produce can often be similar to those due to urinary tract infections and so, it is usually a wise thing to go to the hospital and complain to your doctors when you experience any of these features. Usually, a careful evaluation of the history of the illness followed by a diligent examination of the patient will often show what is most likely to be the cause of the problem. In addition to all that, certain simple investigations are considered mandatory to be conducted by the hospital staff before a diagnosis is reached.
One of these tests is the urinalysis in which a dip stick test is immersed in the urine to look for substances which will suggest the presence of a urinary tract infection. So the presence of proteins in the urine which ought not to be there will be an early indication that an infection is present. Other things such as cells and bacteria can be determined by a formal urinalysis which is done in the laboratory. Beyond this is a culture of the urine which will show the kind of bacteria causing the infection. When the bacteria is identified, culture plates are employed which will also demonstrate which antibiotics will be most useful in defeating the organism.
Finally, the specter of having an overactive bladder is one that also brings about some misery in the realm of frequent urination. It would occur even when there is very little urine in the bladder. This is a condition in which the bladder’s muscles contract often therefore causing the bladder to empty itself. Urinating is therefore a frequent occurrence. Sometimes, the predisposing cause of this condition is not even known but occasionally, the condition is caused by a range of neurological conditions.
Ask the doctor
Dear doctor, please doctor, anything I eat I purge. And, when I eat fried something or fried yam my body pains me. Please sir, help me. What can be the cause of this kind of thing? 081xxxxxxx
It is more healthy to eat boiled food than to fry it. If fried foods are giving you body pains or you have reason to believe that they are giving you the issues you have, stop taking them. As for the purging which you complained about, I am sure that something is responsible for that happening as well. It may be an exaggeration to say anything you eat causes you to purge but the cause can be identified when you visit your doctor. They will examine you and treat you.
Dear doctor, I got your number from SUNDAY PUNCH. I am a reader of your column. Sir, after brushing my teeth, I still have a white coat on my tongue which makes my mouth stink and I have a dry mouth too. What drugs can I use sir? Please sir, help a dying soul. 0905xxxxxxx
Well, you are not a dying soul. To have a white coat on the tongue even after brushing is not an abnormality. It happens to many people. The treatment you require for your complaints is not a drug. You can clean your tongue with slices of lime or lemon or use activated charcoal mouthwash and it should remove the white coat. If that fails to work, you can use diluted hydrogen peroxide to wash it. If all these measures fail, you will need to visit a dentist who will make a preparation for you that will clean that tongue in addition to performing a proper examination of your mouth and teeth.
Dear doctor, good day to your sir. Please doctor, I have this issue, each time I make love to my wife, after two days I will begin to have this feeling like an ant crawling under my skin and itching all over my body. This has lasted for four years now. My wife and I went for tests and the result said it was infection. It was treated and everything was okay, but after two months, the problem came back and we stated another cycle of treatment the same way and it didn’t work again after many different methods of treatment. Please doctor, what test can I do this time again because I have done (urine culture and swab) nothing was seen. Thanks in advance. xxxx@xxxx
Thank you for your question. You will have to see a dermatologist for this problem to be properly diagnosed and treated. It goes beyond an infection and investigations will need to be more comprehensive than what you have done so far.
Dear doctor, my penis is as small as that of a nine-year-old boy. I fear for it because I do not think it should be like that compared to my mates’. I am 16 years old. What’s happening doctor? 0708xxxxxxx
I do not believe you have any problem. People grow differently and at different rates. As a result, you cannot compare the size of your penis to that of your mates because you do not all come from the same parents, have the same height or the same weight and so on. These are all factors that have a bearing on what your penis will eventually look like. Finally, you can only determine what the penis of a nine-year-old looks like if you have many of them around you, so it is curious how you arrived at your conclusion. There are still several years ahead of you for your penis to grow further, so be patient. In the meantime, though, you can have a doctor see you and examine your penis to determine if the growth so far is commensurate with your age.
Dear doctor, the area where my public hair is itches seriously. There’s this white patch around the area on top of my penis. It’s also present around my lap and beside my scrotum. Whenever I bathe, the place has this dark coloration. I’m fair in complexion so the area is darker than the rest of my skin. One day I was scratching and I used the same hand to scratch my armpit and now the white patch is also present there as well. Please doctor, what is going on? I’ve bruised myself many times scratching, I’m in pains and I feel uncomfortable when I’m outside because there’s this urge to scratch. What do I do? How can I solve this? xxx@xxx
I believe that what you now have is a fungal skin infection, tinea cruris, which is rapidly spreading. You should go to a hospital for the proper examination to be done on your skin so that you can get the sort of treatment that can work for you. If what I have said proves to be the case, do not expect any quick resolution. The treatment can take several weeks and even months before all of it is cleared.
Dear doctor, I wish to appreciate your service to teeming Nigerians and pray that Almighty God will continue to bless you. I had a fall about three weeks ago and hit my elbow against a hard surface. There were no bruises but aside from the first few days when I had some pains at the joint, I no longer feel any pains. Rather, I now have a swelling like a bulging tissue at that elbow but I do not feel any pains even when the spot is touched or massaged. I recall having a similar swelling about a decade ago also without pains but had a surgery to remove the bulge (tissue). I am reluctant to visit the hospital, possibly for another surgery as I am of the view that there is no problem since there is no pain. The bulge is about the size of a walnut. Please I need your advice as I am not sure the situation could worsen. Thanks. xxx@xxxx
You do not have to worry. It is probably an enlarged bursa. Other than for cosmetic reasons, you do not have to take any active measures to treat this problem. You can safely ignore it. In due course, it could even disappear on its own. I should add that your words of support and your prayers mean so much to me. Thank you very much and God bless you too and best wishes.
Dear doctor, I am a 52-year-old woman with a big keloid on my chest between my two breasts. I am no longer comfortable with the growth especially because it itches me so much. It also seems to be growing bigger, and I have gone to see a doctor who told me that he will remove it. Doctor, I have done four operations in my lifetime; one for fibroids, two for delivery and one for appendicitis. I have even done one in my mouth, making five. Must I undergo a sixth one sir? Please advise me. 0703xxxxxxx
Well, an outright removal through an operation may not be the best course to take if it is indeed a keloid. Depending on its size, the mass may be made smaller and softer by a particular injection mixed in a particular way and delivered into the keloid. By so doing, the chances of it recurring are greatly minimized but a straight forward removal could provoke an even bigger one forming. I would advise that you consult a plastic surgeon for their advice in order to avail yourself of the best possible treatment available. As for the number of operations you have undergone, do not fret about that. Operations are increasingly safer and they are necessary to correct certain disease conditions. In the end, you are expected to be made more comfortable by having had such an operation. There are some children who have had three or more operations at under the age of two years. So for a 52-year-old woman, that is not too much.