Bladder problems cost the US $44 BILLION a year, study finds

Bladder problems cost the US $44 BILLION a year: Millions of Americans are less productive at work because they wake up at night to pee

  • Over 27 million American workers suffer from nocturia, a bladder problem that causes people to wake in the night with the urge to pee 
  • The sleep disruption raises lifelong health risks and leaves sufferers tired, inattentive and sicker at work during the day 
  • A new study funded by a drug company that makes a nocturia medication found that the problem costs seven more sick days per person per year 
  • And nocturia sufferers are less engaged with work and less satisfied with life 
  • Many countries lose billions of dollars worth of productivity to nocturia, but none so much as the US, which the problem costs $44.4 billion 

People that have to go to the bathroom multiple times throughout the night cost the US economy $45 billion annually because the sleep disruption leaves them more tired and sick than their peers, a new study reveals. 

The urge to pee overnight is the number one most common cause of sleep loss, and is especially common among older adults. 

Some 40 million adults in the US suffer so-called nocturia, including 27.5 million members of the workforce, according the new study, which was funded by a drug company that makes a drug to treat the condition. 

And it links those sleepless nights to a week more missed work a year, and an economic loss of tens of billions of dollars annually. 

Multiple mid-night dashes to the bathroom leave workers exhausted, less productive and more sick for work, costing the global economy billions of dollars every year 

As if being underslept isn’t bad enough, people suffering from nocturia wake in the middle of the night, desperate to get to the bathroom. 

The causes of the urge range from simple behaviors like drinking too much water, caffeine or alcohol close to bed time to urinary tract infections or issues like an enlarged prostate for men or HRT drugs for post-menopausal women. 

Aging also increases the likelihood of nocturia because the body’s production of the hormone that concentrates urine starts to slow down.  

In addition to the annoyance of needing to pee while you’re trying to sleep, anything  that disrupts slumber can have serious consequences for your next day and overall health. 

Getting less than seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is associated with a higher risk of an early death, heart disease and depression, just to name a few of the conditions it may worsen. 

And sleep is key to the immune system, so those who have to get up twice or more in the night might have a harder time recovering from viral or bacterial infections. 

To that end, researchers at the Rand Corporation found in their global study that those with nocturia miss work or are too ill to fully perform their jobs for an average of seven more days a year than people who sleep through the night. 

These same people are 1.3 less ‘engaged’ at work, meaning they participate less actively in their roles while at their jobs. 

That’s about the same decrease seen in among people with chronic kidney disease or high blood pressure, the researchers reported. 

In total, this lost productivity adds up fast in the US, where it reaches a whopping $44.4 billion toll.  

Nocturia costs other countries less, but still far from a nominal amount. The UK loses $5.9 billion to night pees, Spain and Australia lose out on $3 billion each, Germany is short-changed $8.4 billion and Japan loses a hefty $13.7 billion. 

Just like chronic conditions asthma or heart disease, people with nocturia simply have poorer quality of life. 

The new study found that those who have to be up in the night are two percent less satisfied with their lives. 

Nocturia remains for many a stigmatized or embarrassing topic, despite the fact that anywhere from 13 to 17 percent of a given population may suffer from it. 

But the researchers urge doctors to talk to their patients about going in the night to make sure they don’t lose out more sleep than they have to, their employers don’t lose out on their productivity and their countries don’t lose out on capital. 

‘Given the substantial economic implications of untreated nocturia, this should be a ‘wake-up’ call to diverse stakeholders, including patients, health-care providers and employers, of the importance of identifying and treating nocturia,’ said lead study author and Rand economist Marco Hafner said. 

‘Doctors and health practitioners often overlook nocturia as a potential health problem associated with sleep loss, and patients can delay reporting the condition until it becomes unbearable and substantially affects their wellbeing.’