Many women (myself included) tend to overthink the tiniest details about their day—a common one being, “Did I pee enough today?” If you didn’t, you probably weren’t drinking enough water during the day, which could have several effects on your body, or you held it in for too long each time, which can be incredibly dangerous.
I’ve always heard that it’s bad to hold your pee, but I never knew the medical reasons why. I also wasn’t sure how many bathroom trips I was “supposed to” take in an average day (sometimes it seems like too many, but if I’m consuming the recommended minimum of 64 ounces per day, what can I expect?). But as reported on by Shape, a new TED-Ed talk with Heba Shaheed, a pelvic physiotherapist (she’s nicknamed “The Pelvic Expert”), gives us the answers.
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According to Shaheed, the average person should be peeing four to six times a day. In her talk, she describes how the bladder fills up with urine like a balloon, and when it reaches 150 to 200 ml, it signals your brain that it’s time to pee. “At 400 to 500 ml, the pressure becomes uncomfortable. The bladder can go on stretching, but only to a point,” she says. “Above 1000 ml, it may burst. Most people would lose bladder control before this happens, but it rare cases, the pouch can rupture painfully, requiring surgery to fix.”
The consequences if you choose not to go when your body raises the red flag can be severe. “Holding it in for too long, forcing out your urine too fast or urinating without proper physical support [awkwardly squatting over the toilet instead of sitting], may, over time, weaken or overwork the muscular sling [the muscles that allow you to hold in your pee when you need to],” Shaheed says. “That can lead to an overactive pelvic floor, bladder pain, urgency or urinary incontinence. So in the interest of long-term health, it’s not a great habit to hold your pee, but in the short-term, your body and brain have got you covered.”
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