Healthy Body

Why You Have an Urge To Pee More on Your Period (and Can’t Always Go)

Photo: Getty Images / knape
Have you ever felt like you're heading to the bathroom more than usual during your period? And, even though you might not be drinking more than usual, does it feel like you constantly have to pee? If you've experienced this, you're not alone—other than cramps, frequent peeing is probably my most annoying period symptom. So, I asked a few experts whether or not I was imagining things. (Spoiler alert: I'm not.)

Why does more frequent peeing happen

Hormonal changes are a significant cause. “Prior to the period, a hormone called progesterone is elevated,” says Samantha M. Dunham, MD, an OB/GYN. “When the progesterone levels drop, which occurs every month to trigger menses, there is a fluid shift in the body. This releases a lot of fluid and often makes people have to pee more.”

Pressure on your bladder can cause that urge, too. “The contraction, which is felt as period cramps, causes pressure on your bladder, which will make you feel like you need to pee,” says Rebeka Raczz, NP, a women's health nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood in New York City. “Due to this pressure, sometimes you don’t actually have that much urine in your bladder, so it may just feel like you need to pee even if you don’t.”

Is more frequent peeing something to worry about

If it happens to you every month, it's normal. Otherwise, it could be a sign of another issue. “If it’s a new occurrence, they should see a doctor to be sure the frequent urination is not a sign of another problem,” Dr. Dunham says. “Urinary tract infections, and sometimes sexually transmitted infections, can show up.”

Racz agrees that an ongoing urinary issue that worsens with each period—especially if it involves not being able to actually go—means you should contact your provider, as a UTI could be the problem. Noticing pain while peeing, blood in your urine or other symptoms that negatively affect your quality of life, are also signs it’s a good idea to see a doctor, Dr. Dunham adds.

Can anything prevent or lessen this constant urge

If you’re busy like I am, you know how annoying a trip to the bathroom every hour can be—and how important not holding it in is. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to lessen your urge.

Avoiding fluid retention as much as possible can actually help. To minimize fluid retention before your period, Dr. Dunham says you should increase fluid consumption and stay well-hydrated. “Avoiding salty foods also helps reduce fluid retention. Eating more crunchy veggies and less processed food can help move fluids through our systems.” Other than drinking water, Racz recommends taking Advil or Ibuprofen to help with cramps.

It is also possible to address the hormones directly. “The other way to prevent the progesterone plunge is to take a combination contraceptive and suppress the hormonal ups and downs of a regular cycle,” Dr. Dunham says. Taking “the pill” can help in a variety of ways. “Birth control is very effective to alleviate cramping, and very painful periods can be a sign of an underlying problem,” Racz says.

Other than that, you may have to stick it out. Peeing constantly on your period is no fun, but at least it only lasts a week or less, right?

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