We’ve all done it…holding our pee until we’re nearly at the bursting point simply because we didn’t want to stop and go for whatever reason. While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally putting it off until the last moment, holding urine can actually produce a lot of unwanted effects in the body, and it doesn’t take a lot to cause potentially-serious damage.
Bladder expansion may seem like a good thing because we can hold more urine as a result, but the opposite is actually true. Think of what happens when we inflate a balloon too much, and it never shrinks back to its original size. The same can happen to the bladder, and this can weaken its structure and cause all kinds of problems.
While rare, it’s possible that too much fluid in the bladder can cause it to rupture. This will immediately release a wide range of infection-causing contaminants into the abdomen, and the leakage will continue as the kidneys produce more and more urine. A bladder rupture is a serious and life-threatening emergency that exposes the patient to a major surgical procedure in addition to the possibility of dying from a host of infections as a result.
Aside from the occasional leak because we experienced some kind of unwanted bump or jolt while having a full bladder, long-lasting leakage can occur from holding it too long as well. We place strain on a range of muscles that may reduce their ability to properly contract or expand. This includes not only muscles in our urinary system, but our sphincters as well. Over time, we may end up with less control over our movements, and we’ll leave the potential consequences to your imagination.
Urinary tract and bladder infections can be caused by excessive urine buildup, particularly if it contains high concentrations of bacteria at the time. Instead of being flushed out of the system on a frequent basis, pathogens can become concentrated and settle on the lining of the urinary tract or bladder walls. This can lead to a range of painful infections that may require special antibiotics to treat. Frequent and healthy urination is the most important thing that we can to to minimize the chances of experiencing a UTI or bladder infection, and holding it is very counterproductive.
Bladders need to be empty for waste fluids to be flushed from the kidneys. If we hold it too-often, fluids can back up and stagnate. They can also inhibit kidney function and cause an overload that can be harmful to the rest of the body. The strain of holding it too-often can also damage kidneys over time, and this can lead to kidney failure in a worst-case scenario.
These are just a few of many problems that can be attributed to holding urine too-often. Avoiding these problems is why the body gives us an irresistible urge to pee, and we should listen to what our bodies are telling us. If you are worried about having to hold it for a period of time, then consider cutting back on fluid intake when it’s safe and prudent to do so. Consider staying home until you need to pee before heading out. You can also bring a pee bottle with you just in case you can’t find a toilet and you need to go. While it may sound gross, it may come in handy in an extreme situation.
No matter what you do, try to minimize the number of times that you hold your pee too long. You never know when one of those times may cause serious problems that have long-term consequences that would otherwise be completely-preventable.