Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Nocturia and Women
How many bathroom trips do you make during the night? Nocturia (nighttime urination) is common with women suffering from Sleep Apnea.
It’s considered normal to wake up once or twice during the night to urinate, but many women with untreated sleep apnea report as many as 6 or more nightly trips. We may think that this is a sign of having a small bladder.
So many of my clients are up several times a night to pee and we work on altering fluid intake and bladder retraining along with pelvic floor muscle training. All of those help but for those who continue to struggle, perhaps there is more going on.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is underdiagnosed in women compared with men. Women often underreport or present with atypical symptoms such as behavior changes, insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
Nocturia is defined as waking up from sleep 2 times or more to pee and is a common symptom in women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
How does OSA cause Nocturia?
During episodes of sleep apnea, the soft structures in the throat relax and close off the airway. Oxygen decreases, carbon dioxide increases, the heart rate drops and blood vessels in the lung constrict. This sends an alert to the body that something is wrong. In order to reopen the airway, you must wakeup. By this time, your heart is racing and experiences a false signal of fluid overload. The heart excretes a hormone-like protein that tells the body to get rid of sodium and water, resulting in nocturia.
Unfortunately, many women are not aware that they have stopped breathing. They believe that things like waking up to pee or snoring is normal, but it is actually your body trying to wake you up to breathe.
- Do you wake up with a dry mouth? Or wake up with a headache? These are a few more signs of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Wake up with a headache?
These are a few more signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
A few things that may help are:
- Changing your sleep position. Studies show that sleeping on your back can make it worse.
- Humidifiers add moisture to the air and can help to keep the airways open.
- Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus or peppermint help with inflammation and congestion and have soothing benefits to help with sleep and open the airways.
I learned about mouth taping about a year ago and have been looking at research. I love innovation as it pertains to improving our health and wellbeing.
A few months ago, I suggested it to my husband...because he snores like it's his job! He tried athletic tape...and then duct tape...and they both work but they are not too pleasant to take off. Thankfully there is a tape specifically for mouth taping by a company called Somnifix.
Mouth taping is not just to help you stop waking to pee. Additional benefits are better sleep, deeper sleep, better morning breath, less tossing and turning, reduce or stop snoring and increased energy! SomniFix Strips improve CPAP compliance, reduce open-mouth snoring, and improve your sleep quality even if you don't snore or use a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine to keep your airway open while you sleep.
Give them a try I would love to hear if they help!
Finally, if you are making several trips to the bathroom throughout the night or experiencing any of the other symptoms we discussed in this article, you may want to speak with your doctor, a physical therapist, or a pelvic floor professional, to discuss a Sleep Study to determine if you are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.