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Polyuria is a medical term, which refers to excessive excretion of urine. According to widely accepted guidelines, polyuria is diagnosed, when the patient?s daily urine output is greater than 3 litres. However in certain cases, urine excretion of minimum 2,5 litres per day is enough to confirm the presence of the disease. The difference might depend on fluid intake, age, activity level or individual organism?s abilities.
Although polyuria can be accompanied by frequent urination, those terms should not be mistaken or used interchangeably. Frequent urination is a condition described by frequent need to urinate, but the urine output does not exceed 3 litres per 24 hours.
Polyuria is mainly associated with endocrine system disorders. In fact, diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus are the most common causes of this condition. In addition, Cushing?s syndrome and thyroid disorders can increase the urine production as well. Apart from aforementioned examples, polyuria may occur as a consequence of:
- Urinary system diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, Fanconi syndrome or urinary tract infection.
- Use of certain medications or supplements, such as diuretics, vitamin B2 or Vitamin D.
- Congestive heart failure
- Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
Associated symptoms and signs
Since polyuria is not a disease itself, but only a symptom, it can be accompanied by other features of an underlying cause. The most common ones of them include:
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
- Nocturia, which is a need of urination during sleeping
- Shortness of breath
Even though the diagnostic process might be complicated, it is fairly easy to confirm the underlying cause. Interestingly, polyuria occasionally might have unclear origin, but those incidents occurs rarely. At first, a healthcare provider will investigate patient?s medical history and perform physical examination. Afterwards, it is recommended to carry out glucose test, urinalysis, fluid deprivation test or even imaging. However, the process do not require multiple diagnostic methods, since the specialist may be able to confirm the cause after basic examinations.
When it comes to treatment, there is no cure for polyuria exclusively. The victim can, however, restrict the intake of fluids and diuretics, if possible. Alcohol and smoking cessation can be advantageous as well. Yet still, more serious incidents demand professional approach, and some of them, life-time monitoring, just like in the case of diabetes mellitus. One have to bear in mind, however, that polyuria might indicate life-threatening conditions. That is why treatment is crucial in order to avoid dangerous consequences, which in extreme cases may lead to death.
When to see a doctor
In greater majority, incidents of polyuria occur as a consequence of a serious underlying disease. That is why one should seek professional help, if the polyuria persist for a long period of time, or do not mitigate after fluid or diuretics restriction. Another alarming features include symptoms associated with dehydration. They may include e.g. increased thirst, headaches, loss of appetite or general fatigue. In such incidents, the patient requires fluid and electrolyte balance restoration as soon as possible.