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Need to pee in the night is linked to salt intake

People aged over 60, in particular, can suffer from a condition called nocturia. This is the desire to get up in the night to urinate. The condition inevitably impacts upon an individual’s attempt to get a good night’s sleep. Nocturia (sometimes spelled nycturia) is defined by the International Continence Society (ICS) as “the complaint that the individual has to wake at night one or more times for voiding (i.e. to urinate).” Its causes are varied and, in many patients, the causes have been difficult to discern. One theory is that changes to hormones, as people get older, leads to the formation of a greater quantity of urine which fills up the bladder more quickly. New research from Japan offers another reason for the complaint.

The research is based on a study involving some 300 volunteers. The volunteers had previously been identified as suffering from nocturia. Speaking with the subjects and running tests revealed that a reduced salt intake led people to urinate less. This was shown with 223 members of the group who managed to reduce their salt intake from 10.7 grams per day to 8.0 grams per day. To test out the theory in the opposite direction, when 98 subjects agreed to increase their intake from 9.9 to 11 grams it was found that their need to urinate went up from an average of 2.3 times per night to an average of 2.7 times per night.

By cutting down salt levels the subjects, who average two visits per night to the toilet, saw their visits drop down to just one per night. Based on this medics involved with the study have stated that following a sensible diet should help improve symptoms.

Lead researcher Dr Matsuo Tomohiro told BBC Science that said larger studies would be needed to confirm the salt-urination link. However, the academic added that the results could offer immediate help for older people. Here he stated: “This work holds out the possibility that a simply dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people.”

The study was conducted at Nagasaki University,. The results have yet to be be published in a peer reviewed journal; however, the findings have been presented to the April 2017 European Society of Urology congress, which took place in London, U.K.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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