There is nothing more annoying than waking up in the middle of the night with a strong urge to pee. Well, actually there is. Waking up to discover that you have had an accident in bed is uncomfortable and embarrassing. Unfortunately, some people have to get up multiple times during the night to go to the bathroom. That messes up their sleep. It’s not always easy to fall asleep once you have to get up a few times. Is it safe to take an NSAID like celecoxib to prevent nighttime urination? This reader wants to know.

NSAIDs to Prevent Nighttime Urination:

Q. My husband read that celecoxib could reduce his number of nighttime trips to the bathroom (nocturia). That has worked, but now he is complaining of stomach upset and his blood pressure has inched up.

He likes getting better sleep but not if celecoxib causes more problems. Do you have any safer suggestions?

A. There is scientific support that NSAIDs like celecoxib (Celebrex) can help control hard-to-treat nocturia (nighttime urination). In one small study celecoxib reduced nighttime trips to the bathroom from 5.17 to 2.5 (Urology, Oct. 2008). 

Ibuprofen to the Rescue?

We heard about NSAIDs to prevent nighttime urination several years ago. A runner told us that if he took ibuprofen to alleviate post-exercise soreness, he was much less likely to have to get up at night to pee.

After some digging, we found articles that confirmed this observation. A Japanese study tested loxoprofen (not available in the U.S.) on 93 men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

The investigators reported that:

“Nocturia improved or disappeared in 74.2% of patients: excellent, improved, unchanged, and worsened results were obtained in 37.6%, 36.6%, 21.5%, and 4.3% of patients, respectively. The effects were better in patients whose baseline nocturia was > 2 times than in those with a lesser frequency at enrollment  Loxoprofen can be an effective and useful treatment option for patients with BPH complaining of refractory [hard to treat] nocturia.” (Acta Medica Okayama, Feb. 2004). 

A British study published in European Urology (April, 2006) reported positive results with diclofenac (Voltaren).

The authors concluded:

“NSAIDs are effective in the treatment of nocturnal polyuria [nighttime excessive urination] causing a decrease in nocturnal frequency with subjective symptom improvement. Our study suggests a novel treatment option for this common condition.”

The Downsides of NSAIDs to Prevent Nighttime Urination:

NSAIDs like celecoxib, diclofenac or ibuprofen to prevent nighttime urination carries substantial risk. Such drugs can increase the risk for indigestion, stomach pain, ulcers, hypertension, heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.

There is another complication. NSAIDs affect the kidneys. Such medications can cause renal damage in susceptible patients. Sodium and fluid retention are potential problems, especially in older individuals (Pharmaceuticals Basel, July 2010).  In our opinion, that makes such drugs inappropriate for a lot of people, especially when taken regularly.

Raisins to Prevent Nighttime Urination?

Your husband may find that a handful of raisins before bedtime may help with his nocturia. Many readers report improvement with this simple approach.

Lyn in Arizona shares this experience:

“Raisins work for me. If you get up only one time to pee you need to take an extra raisin. I take 8-9 sometimes once or twice a day and the every-2-hour-waking-up-to-pee cycle is gone. I use dark raisins.”

William in Whitby, Ontario, warns about a raisin risk:

“I’ve been on Flomax (tamsulosin) for years and it is not working as well as I age. I sometimes have to get up 3 to 4 times a night to pee. I wasn’t getting proper sleep and as a result I was tired during the day.

“Recently I had to get up 6 times. Before I went to the doctor to increase my dose of Flomax I decided to try the raisin solution. To my surprise and amazement it worked incredibly well. I ate about a dozen raisins before bed, and only had to get up once in the night, after sleeping soundly for 5 hours! This continues to work, but it’s necessary to brush your teeth after eating the raisins as they are high in sugar content and small pieces stick to your teeth.

“I have read about the raisin remedy for years but was very skeptical. Now I’m a believer. Thanks to People’s Pharmacy!”

Raisins won’t work for everyone. Some folks tell us the raisin remedy does not prevent nighttime urination. Hey, that’s true of home remedies as well as potent prescription drugs. There are no guarantees.

You can learn more about this and a beet soup recipe for reducing nighttime urination in our eGuide to Favorite Home Remedies. It can be found in the Health Guide section at

Please share your own experience with the raisin remedy to prevent nighttime urination in the comment section.

Related People's Pharmacy Health Guide

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