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Holding Your Pee in for Long Can Cause You to “Have an Overstretched Bladder That Doesn’t Work Very Well”

Holding Your Pee in for Long Can Cause You to “Have an Overstretched Bladder That Doesn’t Work Very Well”

It's always best to empty your bladder as and when you get the urge, it's okay to hold your pee in for a while, but not too long, because the muscles will stretch out eventually, and that's the last thing we want.

Have you ever tried to hold your pee in, just because you were in the middle of a phone call at work or because you finally found a very comfortable position on the sofa? Have you also worried about how it might mess up your organs later in time? You're not alone; most of us have done that at some point. There are several articles that suggest it can be bad for your kidneys and even cause UTIs. 

 David Ginsberg, professor of clinical urology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California believes that there is probably no harm in holding your pee in, according to HuffPost. Dr. Ginsberg also mentioned how there aren't enough studies done to come to a definite conclusion on this particular topic. 

“No one has done studies where they’ve locked people in rooms for a year and a half and say, ‘Keep drinking coffee and don’t go until you’re almost going to leak and then let’s compare your bladder to people who were peeing in a normal timeframe,” he said. Having said that, Ginsberg believes patients with other medical issues, such as a spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis, should empty their bladders when nature calls as it could be dangerous for their kidney function. 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images/grinvalds

 

But, it seems like in the longer run, relieving yourself immediately has more to do with your bladder's functions than the effects it has on your health. “The thought is that it can happen over time, but we don’t know for sure,” he said. “If you hold too long, or you are chronically over-stretching the bladder the concern is over time ― like years and years ― is that you’ll have an overstretched bladder that doesn’t work very well, which would make it difficult to empty it. That would be the theory.”

If that doesn’t totally make sense, perhaps this analogy that Ginsberg shares with his patients will make it more clear. “I tell patients that your bladder becomes like a pair of outstretched sweatpants. Your bladder is a muscle. When you pee, the muscle contracts. If you’re chronically overstretched then, over the course of time the contraction becomes less strong, and as that evolves you might lose it all together.”

Healthline explains how you know it's time for you to empty your bladder. Basically, when your bladder is half-full, it activates a bunch of nerves that signal your brain it's time to pee. The brain, in turn, tells the bladder to hold on until it is completely full, and this signal differs from person to person. Age and the amount of liquid your bladder can hold also make a difference. In fact, the signals decrease at night so you get a full night's rest instead of running to the loo every two hours, so it's safe to say that the time of day matters, too. 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images/PeopleImages

 

Benjamin Brucker, M.D., assistant professor of urology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told Women's Health Mag that a person's capacity to hold in their pee depends on a lot of things. "Most of the time women can hold urine for three to six hours, but this will vary," says Brucker. "It really depends on the amount of urine that someone makes, which is determined by hydration status and fluid intake, and also functional bladder capacity, which is a combination of the actual size of the bladder and bladder sensitivity."

Just like Ginsberg, Brucker also thinks there's not enough research on this topic to know for sure. "The truth of the matter is normal urination in women across the lifespan is not as well understood as it should be," says Brucker.

The bottom line here is that while it's always best to empty your bladder as and when you get the urge, it's okay to hold your pee in for a while, but not too long, because the muscles will stretch out eventually, and that's the last thing we want.

Representative Image Source: Getty Images/ RyanKing999

References: 
https://www.healthline.com/health/holding-pee#does-it-cause-a-uti
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/holding-in-pee_l_5ccb2cc5e4b0d12395503892
https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19894010/is-it-bad-to-hold-your-pee/

Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/RyanKing999

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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