You have probably done it yourself.... or seen it in the workplace or during an outing with friends. You know, the delaying of urination (peeing) until you can barely walk correctly to get to the bathroom. Is this "holding" harmful? It definitely could be.
Although each person's body is different, there is a common consensus and knowledge about the risks of frequently holding urination.
Increased Risk of Bladder Infection- The capacity of an average bladder allows for 15 ounces of urine retention. Holding urine in the bladder for long amounts of time increases the chance that bacteria may attach to the bladder lining and potentially multiply, resulting in a bladder infection. That infection could also make its way to the kidneys and cause other problems.
Decreasing the brain-body connection- When the bladder is full, it sends signals to the brain; the brain then signals to the body it is time to get to the bathroom. Holding urine and delaying those signals can lead to an alteration in the brain-bladder connection. This could result in decreasing the effectiveness of that connection and result in the body not knowing when it is time to go.
So What Do You Do? The issue with "holding it" is real. Many are limited by his/her work environment; teachers, for example, often delay bathroom breaks the most out of many professionals. The problems that can occur from the delay is real though also. Keep these suggestions in mind next time you cross your legs to hold it for "just a little longer...."
1) Void (pee) Regularly- Pretty straight forward advice, right? But, many people just don't do it or don't plan ahead for the day to allow for regular bathroom breaks, especially during times of travel and work. On average, voiding should occur every 3-4 hours. Don't force yourself to urinate; just go when you sense that you need to. Plan ahead and advocate for your ability to use the restroom in reasonable intervals.
2) Drink Water Regularly- Limiting consumption of water in hopes to decrease the need to use the restroom is not the best approach. Our bodies are designed to consume water and flush out regularly. You should drink when you are thirsty and your urine color should be a light yellow-clear. If your urine is a medium to dark yellow, that is your sign that you are not drinking enough.
The Better Bladder Book by Wendy Cohan, RN
Holding Your Pee: Health Risks from Ignoring Nature's Call. The Huffington Post Canada. 02/27/2012
Robyn Wilhelm, PT, DPT Private Practice Owner in Mesa, Arizona specializing in pelvic floor and women's health physical therapy. Connect with Dr. Wilhelm on her practice website http://www.wilhelmpt.com.
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of gathering published information, some researched, and years of practice experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare provider. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this web site. Information provided on this web site and the use of any services purchased from the web site by you DOES NOT create a doctor/therapist-patient relationship between you and Dr. Wilhelm.
Dr. Robyn Wilhelm, PT, DPT specializes in women's health and pelvic PT. An Ohio native, she enjoys Buckeye football and misses the Fall season. Dr. Robyn enjoys her life in Arizona and spending time with her husband, two kids and Chocolate Lab George.