How to Address Frequent Urination

Originally published May 15, 2023

Last updated May 3, 2024

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Frequent urination is a surprisingly common issue with several potential causes. Experts at Keck Medicine of USC are here to help.

Frequent urination — going more than once every three hours — is surprisingly common, and it’s an issue that can affect anyone.

The experts of Keck Medicine of USC explain possible causes and the doctors best suited to help.

Family Medicine

This will be your first stop, where providers will test for urinary tract infections and other causes.

“We treat sexually transmitted infections, enlarged prostate and overactive bladder,” says Katherine Footracer, a physician assistant at Keck Medicine. “We can diagnose a wide range of conditions — such as diabetes — start a treatment plan and refer you to a specialist when needed.”

Possible treatments: antibiotics, medications for chronic conditions, lifestyle modifications

Male Urology

An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) can cause frequent urination, especially in older men, by pressing against the urethra or bladder wall. But other conditions affect all ages.

“For example, if the sphincter muscles downstream from the bladder can’t relax, then patients may not be able to fully empty their bladder,” says David Ginsberg, MD, a urologist at USC Urology.

Possible treatments: medication, physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery


These experts specialize in a range of gynecological issues that affect urinary health, including vaginal atrophy and prolapse, uterine fibroids that can push on the bladder, and stones that block urine flow, says Keck Medicine urogynecologist Tanaz Ferzandi, MD.

They may also help patients curb habits that weaken the bladder — such as overhydrating or holding in urine.

Next steps: medication, relaxation-focused pelvic floor therapy, insertable device for prolapse, surgery


Neurological causes of frequent urination are often rooted in the spine.

“Injury, compression or normal deterioration can affect nerves connected to the urinary tract,” says Keck Medicine neurologist Xenos Mason, MD.

Frequent urination can also indicate cognitive decline or movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Effective approaches include: physical therapy, surgery, medications for movement, bladder relaxation or sleep


While uncommon, “frequent urination could be the only presenting sign of a bladder tumor,” says Varsha Tulpule, MD, a uro-oncologist with Keck Medicine.

“With this symptom, your primary care provider will rule out common ailments and collect a detailed history before a referral to a urology specialist.”

Plan of action: advanced testing (urinalysis, cytology, imaging and cystoscopy), surgery; hemotherapy, radiology or immunotherapy

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Kate Faye
Kate Faye is an editor and writer for Keck Medicine of USC.

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USC Health Magazine 2024 Issue #1

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