How Bad Is It To Hold Your Pee?

By Subodh / May 15, 2015

Is your bladder telling you it’s time? Are you controlling because you are too snug and warm in bed? Perhaps, you think when the alarm goes off, you’ll relieve the pressure on your bladder. You are not alone. All of us have been in a position where we have held our pee.

At work, maybe the restroom wasn’t so inviting. There wasn’t a rest room in sight. Or, you are only comfortable when you’re at home. Everyone has their reasons to hold in their pee. But you are probably wondering if it’s dangerous. Will there be bladder complications? Will it explode? Could you get some kind of infection? Or, are you just kidding yourself?

Hold Your Pee

Let’s try to understand the process before we go any further.

The Urinary System

urinary systemUrine or pee is a byproduct expelled by the body. It comprises of water, urea and other toxins. The kidneys filter the blood and send the byproduct to the bladder to store. The bladder is then connected to the urethra, which is a passage that allows the liquid to exit the body.

The bladder and urethra are controlled by muscles and nerves. The bladder sends off a message to the brain when its half way to topping off. But the brain can control that urge to pee.

For How Long Can You Hold It In?

Your bladder is capable of holding up to 2 cups of liquid and more, for almost 5 to 6 hours. The capacity to refrain from relieving yourself, however, depends on a number of factors. The smaller a person’s bladder, the more limited will be his ability to control it.

The amount of liquid consumed is key in determining how much of urine the body will produce. Age is also a factor that affects the ability to hold it because the muscles in the bladder and urethra weaken with age.

As the bladder fills the pressure within will build, making the urge to pee greater. Rapid movements of turning, bending, shifting from standing to sitting, will add to this pressure. You will be able to hold it in till your body overrides your brain control, causing you to relieve yourself no matter where you are.

What Could Possibly Happen?

Muscle Weakness: Holding in your pee is a valuable skill, but making a habit out of it can affect you. The pressure buildup in the bladder increases to the point where you feel nothing but discomfort. Besides this bladder stretching is a probable outcome of habitual refraining from urinating. This will weaken the muscles in it, causing the loss of ability to know when you may actually have to go.

Urinary Infection: Infections may also have to be dealt with if you do not pee when the urge first comes. This is a much higher risk for women than men, because of their shorter sized urethra. And if left unchecked, the infection could spread to the kidneys. Urinating frequently helps to dispel bacteria from the bladder and urethra, preventing any bladder or urinary tract infections.

Water Intoxication: This is something you could face if you drink too much of water before letting your body pee out the water already in your body. This is because the excess water in the body brings down the electrolyte composition within the blood stream.

If you do manage to make it through the entire day without peeing, it’s probably because you aren’t getting enough of water into your system. This could result in dehydration. So drink plenty of water and when you hear nature calling, answer!

Is Bladder Bursting A Thing?

Bladder bursting is not a likely outcome from refusing to use the restroom. This is because the bladder is a fairly strong muscle. Yes, the bladder is more prone to injury, but that is usually in the case of heavy drinkers or alcoholics and when it is full and not empty. In case of regular non-alcoholics bladder, bursting isn’t something to worry about.

When Should You Pee?

Using the common room is natural, and feeling the need to pee can range from urgent to not really. So deciding when you got to go should be somewhere in the middle of the two. You can’t be running to the loo every hour and holding it isn’t worth the trouble. You can control the slight urges to pee by distracting the mind and performing Kegel exercises. But if you are going on a long trip, pee before you leave the house. Better to pee a little than dealing with really full bladder and the associated discomfort and pain.