You have certainly heard this advice before: always urinate before leaving your home. These seemingly wise words, often drilled into us as children, are meant to help us avoid smelly rest stops and that awkward moment when you rush into a store to ask if they have a bathroom, only to then be turned away.
But even if you have followed this recommendation consistently, you may encounter a frustrating phenomenon: you still need to pee while you are outside. You may even have to urinate more than once or find it hard to hold back. So what gives?
Here’s the bottom line: by forcing yourself to urinate before heading to your next destination, you’re probably getting the exact opposite of what you were hoping for.
What happens when you habitually urinate without urge?
First, a little anatomy 101: The bladder is a very flexible organ, like a balloon. He has really stretchy muscle fibers. This means that you should not hold your pee for too long, as your bladder may begin to stretch and struggle to bounce, like a big soft ball. On the other hand, one of the reasons you shouldn’t urinate when you don’t need to is that you can build muscle in the organ, which stiffens the bladder wall. Both of these habits can lead to problems emptying your bladder down the road.
However, the brain controls all bodily processes, including urination, according to Victoria Handa, MD, MHS, director of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. “There is absolutely a mental component to the need to pee,” Dr. Handa tells SELF. (If you’ve ever had a tantrum and later felt the urge to go to the bathroom, you know what we’re talking about.) Thanks to this mental association, peeing if you don’t feel like it can actually prepare (and train) your brain and bladder to go more often.
« The connection between the brain and the bladder – how, when and why the bladder sends its ‘I’m full’ signal to the brain – is complicated, but in short, the bladder is a very trainable organ », Lauren E. Stewart, MDa gynecologist specializing in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery and assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, SELF tells.
Over time, says Dr. Stewart, if you continue to urinate before your bladder is Actually full, he can learn that he must empty when there is less inside. « That means you’ll urinate more frequently since your bladder thinks it can’t hold that much, » she says.
Also, be aware that the bladder can hold quite a bit of urine: Research1 suggests that people with vaginas can store up to 500 milliliters of urine, or about two cups, in their bladder; If you fall into this camp, you will probably feel the urge to urinate when the bladder contains between 200 and 350 milliliters of urine.
So before you go to the toilet, you might want to make sure you Actually need to urinate so as not to send mixed messages to your bladder. Of course, there’s no need to overemphasize this either; you won’t instantly train your bladder to go all the time by participating in a precautionary pee once in a while. « In general, the bladder takes time to learn (and unlearn) these behaviors, » says Dr. Stewart.
How do you know if you are urinating too often?
There’s peeing « just in case » before leaving the house, and then there’s too much peeing in general. Because peeing is so psychological – in other words, you can talk yourself into needing to pee – it can be hard to tell when to see a doctor about urinary frequency (need to pee). urinating often), overactive bladder (the urge to pee suddenly), or even stress incontinence (when some form of pressure causes urine to leak, rushing you to the toilet).