Whether you’re stuck in a 2-hour post-work jam on the highway, or fidgeting uncomfortably at the theater in an unexpectedly long movie, or even just turned off by the quintessentially Malaysian toilets (read: dirty) — you’ve definitely “held it in” before.
You probably wouldn’t think twice about it, but does holding off urinating do any damage to your body? Is the old adage of bladders exploding due to suppressed pee true?
First things first, don’t worry about any unsightly explosions – it is entirely a myth. The origin of this saying dates back to Tycho Brahe – a famous astronomer who reputedly died from a burst bladder after he refused to leave a banquet table in fear of being rude. However, after years of investigation, most theories and scientists have concluded that the cause of his death is mostly linked to bladder infection, mercury poisoning, or both.
However, even though your bladder isn’t going to burst if you hold in pee, it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for you. Below are some of the health concerns you’ll face if you hold in your pee for too long:
1. Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary Tract Infection, or commonly known as UTI, is caused by an infection in parts of the urinary tract. Suffering from UTI is a very painful ordeal – you’d feel a strong urge to pee, and symptoms include pain in your urethra, blood-streaked urine, or a burning sensation when you use the bathroom.
2. Bladder Infections
As shared by Dr. Chamandeep Bali of Toronto Naturopathic Health Clinic, “the longer you hold your urine, the bladder can become a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.” Said bacteria might lead to infections, which can spread to kidneys and then cause greater damage to the body.
3. Voiding Dysfunction
More commonly known as Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS), this broad term is used to describe conditions where there is a lack of or poor coordination between the bladder muscle and the urethra. This might lead to symptoms such as wetting yourself (incontinence), difficulty emptying and filling the bladder, symptoms during sex and poor quality of life.
4. Urinary Incontinence
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is the loss of urine control. Common in older people, this inability to hold in your urine until you can reach a restroom might be due to past UTIs, which resulted from holding in your pee.
Not so funny anymore eh? The bottom line is this: if you have the urge, it’s best you get yourself to a restroom A.S.A.P.
Ever got a health issue from holding in pee too long? Share the knowledge in the comments below or on our Facebook page!