Here’s What Actually Happens When You Hold Your Pee In For Way Too Long
We’ve all been there – when you really need to go, but you have to hold it in for whatever reason.
It’s deeply unpleasant, and involves a lot of foot-tapping, leg-crossing, unattractive dancing around.
But what happens if you hold it in for too long?
Years of regularly holding your pee in can increase your risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and a condition where your bladder can’t fully empty, known as urinary retention.
‘The bladder’s kind of like a pond,’ Gerald Timm, a urological researcher at the University of Minnesota, told Popular Science. ‘Not draining properly allows bacteria to build up, and that leads to infection.’
And while it’s very, very rare that your bladder would physically burst, it’s not totally impossible – but this would only really happen if you had another pre-existing bladder condition.
For example, if someone has had cancer or major surgery, or radiation in his bladder, or has had a new bladder made out of intestine and transplanted in, then the organ can rupture.
And when this does happen, it is as painful as you’d imagine.
After the bladder bursts urine will pour into the abdomen, and urgent medical treatment will be needed so that it can be drained with catheters.
Most people, however, will just wet themselves before reaching this stage. Phew.