Urination is a vital process in the body that excretes waste and maintains a stable body-water balance. Despite the importance of the process, it’s not normal, or healthy, to have very frequent urinations unless you have been drinking copious amounts of fluids. When a person is experiencing very frequent urinations even without taking too many drinks, this could indicate diuresis. It is a condition which causes the kidneys to produce too much urine, more than normal, even though the fluid intake is normal. [1]

Urinary System

Just what is considered normal?

Before we even begin looking at the problem of diuresis, it’s important to first establish the normal, or average, rate at which people urinate. Of course, just like with many biological processes, everyone is bound to have a different figure, but there are some standard figures. Most healthy adults will urinate about 6 to 7 times within a 24-hour period, but some with similar fluid intake can have between 4 and 10 urinations in the same period. [2]

Other factors that can affect the frequency of urination include your daily fluid intake, and also the kinds of fluids you take. Caffeinated drinks may not cause a rise in frequency, but plain water can. Physical activities and weather will also determine how much you sweat, and these factors also affect how many times you will have to go to the toilet. Now that we have established the average, normal, frequency, let’s look at some signs of diuresis.

functional unit of kidney - Nephron Diuresis

The functional unit of kidney – Nephron

Signs of Diuresis

The first sign of diuresis is the increased number of toilet visits to urinate, but this alone cannot indicate diuresis since there are other factors to consider. However, if the frequent toilet visits are still present for days and even weeks, causing you to wake up more than once to urinate, then you can conclude none of the other factors are causing the problem. Other signs that may confirm diuresis include: [3]

  • Discomfort when passing urine – even the urethra which passes urine out of your body can become slightly irritated due to the increased frequency of urination. this can eventually cause some discomfort or increased sensitivity when passing urine, although it does not rise to the level of pain
  • Increased thirst – a lot of water is lost due to diuresis, and the body attempts to compensate for this loss by causing the feeling of thirst to become increased
  • Fatigue – the kidneys are able to filter water from the bloodstream by keeping minerals and salts within them to increase osmotic pressure, and these minerals are excreted together with the urine. while suffering from diuresis, you lose plenty of essential minerals in the process which are essential for bodily functions, causing you to feel tired
  • Involuntary loss of urine – because diuresis is caused by an overactive bladder which contracts suddenly, it may do so without warning, causing an accidental loss of urine. this can affect a person’s social life
  • Insomnia – when diuresis keeps rousing you from sleep, it can make it difficult to fall into the rem stage of sleep and cause insomnia
  • Heart failure – losing plenty of water through urine lowers the blood volume, forcing your heart to pump harder and faster to compensate for the deficit. This can eventually lead to heart failure if left unattended or exacerbate the problem in a person already at risk

What can cause Diuresis?

There are various reasons why diuresis can develop, mostly due to an underlying medical condition, but also as the body’s response to certain medications or drinks. Some of the most common causes include: [4]

Renal failure

Most people suffering from diuresis are also found to be recovering from kidney failure. When the kidney isn’t functioning properly, excess minerals and wastes start to build up in the body, but when the kidneys start to function again, they increase their activity to remove all the accumulated waste. If this is found to the cause of the diuresis, it is usually welcome news because it shows improvement in kidney function.


In other cases, diuresis is caused intentionally using medications to treat another medical condition. For example, if you are suffering from high blood pressure, diuretics may be prescribed which increase the frequency of urination and reduce blood volume. In such cases, you should be forewarned about the side-effects of the medication so as not to panic

Underlying conditions

Some medical conditions can cause diuresis, such as polydipsia which creates an increased thirst in the affected individual, forcing them to drink too many fluids, eventually causing diuresis. Diabetes, both the diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus varieties can lead to diuresis since they affect glucose levels in the blood and subsequently the osmotic pressure and urine production by the kidneys

Certain foods and drinks

What you take will affect what you excrete, and there are some foods and drinks which will affect urine production such as cranberry juice, parsley and juniper berries. Frequent intake of these foods without realizing can then lead to diuresis.

Types of Diuresis

There are several kinds of diuresis, depending on the causative factors. For example, diuretics can lead to forced diuresis as the drugs trigger the diuresis. Other types of diuresis are: [5]

  • Osmotic diuresis – when there are too many substances in the blood that can’t be absorbed by the body, so they are flushed out. This is often due to the food you take
  • Pressure diuresis – individuals with a high artery pressure may have diuresis as the body tries to reduce the blood volume
  • Rebound diuresis – this is where the kidneys are recovering from a previous failure
  • Immersion diuresis – common in deep-sea divers, the underwater pressure causes increased pressure in the blood leading to pressure diuresis

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis for diuresis is based on your symptoms and a check for other underlying medical conditions. Before the doctor’s visit, it is important to keep track of your frequency of urination and the foods and drinks you have been taking so that the doctor can determine whether your symptoms are out of the ordinary.

After the diagnosis is established, treatment is often targeted at the main cause of the problem. However, if the symptoms are making you uncomfortable, anti-diuretics can be prescribed which reduce the osmotic pressure in the bloodstream, but these have to be taken alongside the medication for the underlying problem. [6]


  1. Introduction to diuresis Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diuresis
  2. Average urination frequency Available from: https://www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org/bladder/bladder-conditions-and-symptoms/frequency/
  3. Symptoms of diuresis Available from: http://byebyedoctor.com/diuresis/
  4. Causes of diuresis Available from: http://www.hxbenefit.com/diuresis-definition-types-symptoms-causes-and-treatment.html
  5. Types of diuresis Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diuresis
  6. Treatment and diagnosis of diuresis Available from: http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-diuresis-definition-symptoms-treatment.html

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