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Frequent Urination Anxiety Symptom

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: March 24, 2019

Frequent urination, urgency to urinate, a sudden urge to go to the washroom symptom description:

There are many descriptions for this symptom of anxiety. Common descriptions include:

  • You feel you have to urinate more frequently than usual.
  • You feel you need to urinate even though you just urinated.
  • It seems your bladder needs emptying even though you just emptied it.
  • You feel you need to urinate more than two times per hour.
  • You feel you need to urinate even though you haven’t been consuming more water or liquids
  • You feel you need to urinate, but when you do, you produce little or no results.
  • You frequently feel a need to go to the washroom.

This symptom may occur rarely, intermittently, or persistently. For example, one day you may visit the washroom numerous times, and the next day follow a more regular pattern.

This symptom may be mildly noticeable, moderately bothersome, or severe.

The symptom may precede, accompany, or follow an increase in anxiety or stress, or occur for no apparent reason.

This symptom can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All variations and combinations of the above are common.

Can anxiety cause frequent urination?

Yes, anxiety can cause frequent urination. But because there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety and anxiety like sensations and symptoms, such as this symptom, all new, changing, persistent, and returning sensations and symptoms should be discussed with your doctor. If your doctor attributes your sensations and symptoms to stress and/or anxiety, you can feel confident that your doctor’s diagnosis is correct. Since more serious medical conditions also have symptoms unlike that of stress and anxiety, most good doctors can easily tell the difference between stress and anxiety caused sensations and symptoms and symptoms caused by other medical conditions.

Furthermore, if you have had medical tests done and your test results show no abnormalities, again, you can feel confident that your sensations and symptoms are solely caused by stress and/or anxiety and not by another medical condition.

Regarding urinating frequently, anxiety and stress can cause this symptom. Here’s why:

Behaving in an apprehensive manner activates the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat - to either fight with or flee from it - which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

A part of the stress response changes include causing the body to eliminate waste as quickly as possible (so that you don’t have to stop and do that when either fighting or fleeing). Many people feel the urge to go to the washroom when they are anxious or stressed. It is a common anxiety and stress reaction.

Behaving apprehensively can also cause the body to become overly stressed. An overly stressed body can produce sensations and symptoms similar to an active stress response, but these sensations and symptoms can be more sustained and seem to occur out of the blue and for no apparent reason. So even though you may not feel overly stressed or anxious in that moment, your body may be overly stressed and therefore presenting sensations and symptoms of stress-response hyperstimulation (when the body becomes overly stressed).

There are other reasons as well, which we explain in Chapter 9 in the Recovery Support area of our website. Nevertheless, anxiety and stress are common causes of frequent urination.

Frequent urination anxiety symptom treatment

When frequent urination is caused by anxiety and stress, there are a number of things you can do to eliminate it. For example:

Ending an active stress response:
When this feeling is caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, this feeling should subside and you should return to your normal self. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

Eliminating your body’s overly stressed state:
When this feeling is caused by persistent stress, it may take a lot more time for the body to calm down and recover, and to the point where this symptom is eliminated.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered from its overly stressed state, frequent urination will completely subside. Therefore, this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern.

You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this feeling. Sure, it can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or sustained stress, this symptom will completely disappear.

Short-term remedies for frequent urination:

While the above is the best way to eliminate anxiety and stress caused frequent urination, here are some other ways to alleviate it in the meantime:

  • reduce your intake of fluids
  • regular light to moderate exercise (exercise is a great way to reduce the body’s stress, but not rigorous exercise, which stresses the body)
  • moderately increase your salt intake but stay within a healthy limit (salt causes the body to retain fluid)
  • regular deep relaxation can help slow the body’s metabolism, which will also help in reducing urination
  • get regular good sleep (between 6.5 to 8 hours per night) as it also helps calm the body
  • slow down your pace, which also helps to calm the body

Much more could be said about this anxiety symptom. For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including this one, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:

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