George Krucik, MD, MBA
Frequent urination is characterized by a need to urinate more often than normal, report doctors at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nocturia is a condition that causes patients to have to urinate more frequently during the night. When combined with urgent urination, which is a sudden, urgent need to urinate, more often than not the culprit is a urinary tract infection. Other causes of frequent urination, which often can be controlled with medication, include diabetes, prostate problems, overactive bladder syndrome and interstitial cystitis.
Antibiotics typically are prescribed to treat urinary tract infection. They are given in pill form to treat the entire body because infections of the urinary tract often can spread to the kidneys. NIH doctors report that women with a simple bladder infection usually take antibiotics for three days while men need to take the medicine for an average of seven to 14 days. Antibiotics most commonly prescribed include trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, doxycycline and amoxicillin.
Elmiron is the only medication available to treat interstitial cystitis (IC), report NIH doctors. The condition is uncurable and causes severe pain and frequent urination that can occur as many as 60 times a day. The condition is caused by inflammation of the bladder walls. Elmiron is taken orally and coats the bladder lining similar to the way Pepto-Bismol coats the stomach. People with IC often take painkillers as well as tricyclic antidepressants that can help relieve pain and reduce urinary frequency.
Pyridium is an analgesic that can reduce the frequency of urination by soothing the nerves in the bladder. The drug, under the generic name phenazopyridine hydrochloride also relieves patients of burning sensations while urinating and urgent urination problems. Pyridium typically is only a temporary fix that treats the symptoms and often is prescribed in conjunction with antibiotics or Elmiron. Patients typically take 200 mg three times a day in tablet form with meals.
Hydroxyzine is sold under the brand name Vistaril and is a medication that also treats the symptoms of frequent urination by reducing central nervous system activity. Vistaril is an antihistamine that is used in conjunction with other medications to calm nervous bladders and treat anxiety.
Detrol is a drug produced by Pfizer that is used to treat overactive bladder, which causes frequent urination. Detrol, also known as tolterodine, is an antispasmodic that works to control the bladder muscles. Doctors at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society report that Detrol is used to treat patients with MS who experience urinary disorders. Manufacturers report that one pill, once a day can control frequent urination symptoms for as long as 24 hours.