Terminology, epidemiology, etiology, and pathophysiology of nocturia

Philip Van Kerrebroeck*, Karl-Erik Andersson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Web of Science)


Nocturia, awaking from sleep to void, has a negative impact on health and well-being. Nocturia affects men and women and is more prevalent among the elderly. More than two nocturnal voids is considered to be a clinically meaningful threshold associated with significant negative outcomes for health and well-being, and the timing of awakening has a significant bearing on the negative consequences of nocturia. Several serious underlying pathophysiologic conditions may be associated with nocturia. A thorough history and assessment of number and times of voids, void volume, and fluid intake is essential for determining the etiology of a patient's nocturia. With data obtained from the frequency-volume chart (FVC), which is used to collect quantitative voiding data, a patient's nocturia may be classified as global polyuria, nocturnal polyuria, reduced bladder capacity, or a combination of these categories. Global polyuria is defined as 24-hr urinary output that exceeds 40 ml/kg body weight and results in increased 24-hr urinary frequency. Nocturnal polyuria is defined as more than 20% of daily urine output at night in young patients and more than 33% in elderly patients. Reduced bladder capacity may be a result of idiopathic or neurogenic detrusor overactivity, bladder outlet obstruction, or reduced nocturnal bladder capacity. The pathophysiology underlying the findings of the FVC falls into five main categories: global polyuria, nocturnal polyuria, reduced bladder capacity, sleep disorders, and circadian clock disorders. This review discusses the epidemiology, etiology, and pathophysiology of nocturia. Neurourol. Urodynam. 33:S2-S5, 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S2-S5
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • epidemiology
  • pathophysiology
  • nocturia
  • etiology

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