We’ve all held our pee in at one point or another. Maybe you were in a meeting that you couldn’t leave, or you were in line at the grocery store, or on a bus that did not have a toilet. Whatever your reason was, it must have been a good one, because nobody ever wants to hold their pee.
This is because holding your pee is uncomfortable and even painful. The normal adult bladder can hold around 16 ounces of pee, which is equivalent to 2 cups of urine. This can be good news if you’ve had only one cup of coffee, but if you’ve indulged in more than one, then you might have a problem in your hands.
For children under two years, the limit is about four ounces, and for those older than two years, the capacity of their bladder can be found by dividing their age by 2 and then adding a 6 to it. So, if your child is eight years old, they can hold 10 ounces. Read on to learn more about what happens to the body when we hold in our pee, and why not to.
Is It Okay to Hold Your Pee?
Now, since we’ve all done it, one thing everyone wonders about is whether or not this is safe. If you have a healthy urinary system, then holding the pee is actually not that dangerous.
But, if you are holding more than two cups of urine, then you may feel quite uncomfortable holding that pee.
For people that have an overactive bladder, holding pee can be important when you are training your bladder. Regular training of your bladder can help you develop a urination schedule that is more convenient.
There is really no set guideline on how long you can safely hold in the pee, and it varies from one person to the next.
What Happens When You Hold Pee In?
The reason behind your urge to empty your bladder isn’t as simple as you may think. It is actually a very complex process that involves your organs, muscles, and nerves, which all work together and tell you that it’s time to go and pee.
When the bladder is almost half full, the nerves are activated. These nerves will send a message to your brain and give you the urge to urinate. The brain then signals the bladder to hold it until you are ready. Holding the pee involves fighting this signal from the brain to urinate.
The signals differ from one person to another. They also vary in accordance with age and how much liquid your bladder contains, plus what time of day it is. For example, at night, the signals decrease, and that way, you are able to have a full night of rest, instead of going to the restroom throughout the night.
When you find that the signals have picked up at night, it could be as a result of an underlying medical condition. Most people tend to have an overactive bladder when they are stressed.
Can Holding Pee Cause Urinary Tract Infections?
Holding your pee doesn’t really cause a UTI. A UTI will occur when there is bacteria that has made its way to the urinary tract.
Now, if you do not empty your bladder regularly, the bacteria is likely to sit on your bladder and multiply, which can lead to a UTI.
You may also have a high risk of UTIs if you do not drink enough water. This is because the bladder will not be filled enough to send the right signal to urinate. The bacteria that is already present in your urinary system can then multiply and lead to an infection.
Because your bladder is a part of your urinary system, it is usually connected to the ureters in your kidneys. In rare cases, the urine can be backed up in your kidneys and lead to an infection or even kidney damage.
Other pre-existing conditions such as an enlarged prostate, or a neurogenic bladder, can lead to involuntary retention of urine.
If you must hold your pee, ensure that you empty it at the next available opportunity; otherwise, you could be attracting a myriad of problems.
The bottom line is that holding your pee is harmful to your health and should be avoided when possible.