Reviewed by: Brindusa Vanta, MD, DHMHS
Lower Back Pain and Frequent Urination: Causes and Treatment
Urination is a natural function. But if you find yourself urinating constantly or your urination is accompanied by lower back pain, it could be a sign of a bigger health issue.
This condition is nothing to be ashamed of. Lower back pain and frequent urination are common afflictions that often coexist and predispose each other. That being said, they can be extremely intrusive — you might have trouble sleeping or enjoying activities that need your attention for extended periods.
To overcome these effects, it's important to learn how to manage frequent urination and lower back pain. From causes to treatment, here's what you need to know about the condition.
What Causes Lower Back Pain and Frequent Urination?
There are a number of causes of back pain and frequent urination. A separate medical condition may be the culprit, and so can certain lifestyle choices. Identifying the root of this condition is the first step to treating it. Here are some of the most common causes to look out for.
The low back pain associated with frequent urination suggests an underlying condition for both symptoms. It's best to visit a medical professional for a diagnosis. Getting treatment for the source condition is likely to reduce or even completely eliminate urination frequency and back pain.
1. Kidney Problems
Located in your lower back, the kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from your blood and passing it through to your urine to be expelled from the body. If your kidneys aren't functioning properly, they can cause both frequent urination and acute back pain.
This type of back pain is generally located at the lower part of your back or on your side. If left unattended, the pain may spread, resulting in painful urination. For kidney problems, it's important to seek medical attention right away.
2. Prostate Problems
Issues with the prostate — such as a gland inflammation called prostatitis — are known to cause frequent urination and back pain. Other common symptoms associated with prostatitis include fever and chills, painful ejaculation, muscle aches, and fatigue. This kind of infection can be treated with antibiotics. Make sure you take the antibiotics as prescribed to treat the infection and prevent long-term complications.
3. Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, affects organs such as the bladder and kidneys. As bacteria accumulates along the urinary tract, it can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including a need to urinate more frequently. If you have an upper tract UTI, the infection will particularly affect your kidneys, causing back pain.
4. Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder condition resulting from an inflamed bladder wall. People with this condition experience constant pressure on their bladder, making them feel as though they constantly need to urinate. This condition also causes pain in the pelvic area, which may travel up to the lower back. To treat interstitial cystitis, a combination of therapy and lifestyle changes is often used.
Besides underlying medical conditions, certain habits can lead you to experience frequent urination and lower back pain. Unlike medically caused cases, those caused by lifestyle factors can often be treated with a shift in routine.
1. Poor Posture
Bad posture can lead to a range of health issues. If you spend hours sitting each day, you're particularly susceptible to acute back pain — especially if you tend to slouch. Additionally, poor posture can place unwanted strain on core muscle groups, including those located on the pelvic floor. This can put pressure on your bladder, prompting a need to urinate frequently.
2. Overuse Injuries
Overuse is another common cause of this condition. Repeatedly engaging in activities that strain your back (such as lifting weights or carrying a heavy backpack) can damage your muscles and cause back pain. Like poor posture, this puts pressure on your bladder, resulting in frequent urination.
Being overweight puts additional strain on almost every part of your body. It's common for those who are obese to urinate more frequently than they would at a healthy weight, as well as having an increased risk for urinary incontinence. With more weight to support, the lower back often becomes overworked and painful.
A sedentary life is known to be a risk factor for urinary incontinence and other bladder conditions. Constant sitting puts excess strain on your bladder, making you feel the need to urinate constantly. Plus, little activity can leave you slouched, causing pain in your lower back.
Common Accompanying Symptoms
No matter the cause, this condition can produce additional symptoms. For example, lower back pain and frequent urination at night may lead to sleep loss, making you feel fatigued throughout the day. Some other common secondary symptoms depend on the underlying medical condition and include:
- Blood in urine
- Cloudy urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen or groin
- Difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder
- Pain or a burning sensation during urination
Diagnosis and Treatment
To stop experiencing acute back pain and frequent urination, it's important to visit a medical professional. They'll be able to locate the source of the condition and make a treatment plan to combat it. Here's what you need to know about this stage of the recovery process.
To determine the root cause of your condition, there are several diagnostic tests a doctor may perform. These include:
1. Physical Examination
A doctor will perform a standard physical exam to pinpoint the area of distress. This may include an abdominal, rectal, or pelvic examination, since this is the area where most causes originate. The physical exam also intends to rule out any serious health causes, like disease or nerve damage.
2. Urine Tests
Urine tests are mainly used to detect abnormalities in your urine. This is useful for diagnosing conditions like UTIs, which increase the number of white blood cells produced by your body. Conditions that cause inflammation in the bladder can also be detected using this method.
3. Imaging Tests
Imaging tests are useful for diagnosing internal sources of pain. X-rays, myelograms, and MRI tests are commonly used imaging tests that are capable of detecting everything from infections to tumors.
Just as there are numerous ways to diagnose lower back pain and frequent infection, there are various treatment methods to explore.
Some conditions — like infections — may require medication. Antibiotics are a common prescription for things like UTIs or infections affecting the prostate. In some cases, a doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to ease symptoms for cases caused by lifestyle factors.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can be a viable treatment course, particularly for those with overuse injuries or poor posture. Guided stretches and exercises can strengthen the back, preventing acute pain and easing pressure on the bladder.
3. Lifestyle Changes
If your lifestyle plays a role in your pain and frequent urination, a change to your routine should improve the issue. Simply being more active or sitting up straighter can be enough to improve back pain and keep your urine production at standard levels.
4. Absorbent Products
This condition won't always be reversed with a simple lifestyle change. In these cases, learning to manage your symptoms will prevent them from taking over your life.
Lower back pain and frequent urination in females can be effectively managed with the help of absorbent products. Things like protective underwear, bladder pads, and disposable pouches can prevent you from constantly running to the bathroom. Plus, they'll keep your condition discreet so you can focus on living each day to the fullest.
Though uncommon, surgery is a potential form of treatment. If you have kidney stones, a tumor, or an abscess, surgery may be necessary to remove the intrusion. Once you recover from surgery, you'll likely be free from both back pain and frequent urination.
While it's not always possible to prevent medical conditions entirely, there are ways to reduce your risk of experiencing lower back pain and frequent urination. Maintaining good posture and exercising regularly keep you physically strong, lowering your chance of back and muscle strains. Additionally, staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy weight can protect you from a number of health conditions, including infections.
When to Seek Medical Attention
It's easy to think you can live with your condition for some time, even when it's causing you pain. But there are a few signs that it's time to seek medical attention right away, including:
- Bloody urine
- Uncontrollable bladder or bowels
- Unusual discharge
- Fever and chills
- Painful urination
The Bottom Line
Lower back pain and frequent urination are uncomfortable and intrusive, but they're usually treatable to some degree. If you're currently suffering from this condition, Nexwear can help you manage your symptoms. With absorbent products that are as comfortable as they are discreet, you'll stay confident and leak-free wherever you go.