Synonyms: Excessive urination

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Urology

Clinical Definition

Polyuria is excessive urination beyond the typical daily output of three liters, or just over three quarts a day. Polyuria is more prevalent with advancing age and is caused by a number of conditions, including congestive heart failure, uncontrolled diabetes and excessive intake of fluids during the day.  

In Our Own Words

Polyuria is a condition in which urine output is considered higher than normal. The range for normal or average varies from person to person, but is typically about a quart or two daily for adults. Those with diabetes insipidus may produce more than four gallons of urine in a day—one extreme example of polyuria. Individuals with diabetes mellitus, when it is uncontrolled, may also experience polyuria when their glucose goes above 180 mg/dL.


Technically, polyuria is different from urinary frequency (having to go too often) and nocturia (having to go too frequently at night). When you have polyuria, you definitively produce more urine than is normal. Those who make too much urine are apt to have nocturia and urinary frequency, but the reverse is not necessarily true. 

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Nocturnal polyuria
Share this article
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. "Diabetes Insipidus Symptoms." Diseases and Conditions. Nov. 2010. http://familydoctor.org. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. “Conditions for Polyuria.” Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. Last reviewed Nov. 9, 2005. http://umm.edu. Accessed Sept. 2013.
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Nocturnal Polyuria: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment Overview." Disorders Sept. 2008. http://my.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed Aug. 2013.

Investigate your bodys signs and signals.
Try Symptom Checker