Polyuria is the frequent need to urinate and is a common symptom of diabetes.

An increased need to urinate can also occur in people diagnosed with diabetes if blood glucose levels become too high for a number of hours.

Causes of Polyuria

Polyuria can be brought on by one or more of the following factors:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) as a result of diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Alcohol
  • Kidney disease
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Medications –notably diuretics

When to see your doctor

If you notice you are going to the toilet more often than usual, it is advisable to see your doctor who will be able to advise whether you need a test for diabetes (unless you have already been diagnosed) or another possible cause.

In people with undiagnosed diabetes mellitus, it is common for an increased need to urinate to be accompanied by increased thirst. Read more about the symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

How can diabetes lead to polyuria

When blood sugar levels are significantly higher than normal, the body will begin to remove glucose from the bloodstream via the kidneys. The glucose is filtered out by the kidneys and excreted from the body via the urine.

As well as filtering out glucose from the blood, the kidneys will also filter out more water than normal, causing a need to urinate more frequently than normal.

Polyuria in people with diabetes mellitus

If you have diabetes mellitus (including type 1 and type 2 diabetes) and notice you are going to the toilet more often than usual, it could indicate that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal.

If you have blood glucose testing supplies, you may wish to use blood glucose testing to determine what may be causing your sugar levels to run high.

If the cause of polyuria is related to blood glucose levels, your doctor will be able to advise on how you can decrease your blood sugar.