“Excuse me Sir, Ma’m, I have to pee or go ‘su su’ ” – remember the days when you used to raise your little finger and ask your teacher that you want to go to the toilet in the middle of the class? Some teachers would allow and some would ask you to wait until it’s time for recess. Have you ever thought if holding your pee (su su) is good or bad; how much urine you can hold and for how long? What happens if you hold your urine for long? Read on to find out some interesting facts about holding your pee.
How much urine can your bladder hold?
Normally, an adult can hold up to half litre of urine, of course, I have seen people peeing for over a minute and filling up a one litre bottle. A person can hold only so much urine based on the capacity of his/her bladder.
- Children aged less than 2 years can hold up to 120ml approximately.
- For children above 2 years of age, you have a formula which gives roughly the capacity of his/her bladder.
Capacity of bladder = (age/2) + 6 ounces.
Example: A 10 year old can hold up to (10/2) + 6 = 11 ounces of urine. (1 Ounce is approximately 34ml)
How does the brain and bladder work?
Here is how the bladder works. During the day or night, your bladder gets filled with urine (waste fluids that should be removed from your body) and when it reaches 50% of it’s capacity, it signals the brain through the nerves surrounding the bladder.
Your brain then tells you that you need to go to the restroom. You can either go to the restroom or if you are in a position where restroom is not available or you can’t go at the moment, you can control your brain signal and stay put. As the bladder keeps getting filled, it will keep sending the signals to you and when you visit the restroom and are ready to pee, the muscles around the bladder compress the bladder as a result of which you start peeing. When you are done, the muscles around the bladder relax because the bladder signals the brain that it is empty and brain then tells the muscles to relax.
The ability to hold urine varies from person to person, age and also on gender. Typically women are capable of holding urine for longer than men. Also, at night, the brain doesn’t send a strong signal to urinate because; it wants your body to rest, unless your bladder screams at your brain that it is really full.
How safe is it to hold your bladder without urinating?
Simply putting, holding urine for a little longer will not cause any harm in healthy people. People suffering from urinary incontinence do that as a part of bladder training. They are advised to hold the urine until a particular interval.
But if you have any of the following problems, holding urine may not be a good idea as it can cause more harm to your body:
Are you at risk of Urinary Tract Infection if you hold without urinating?
The answer is a yes and no, depending on how often you hold you urine. What actually happens is, when you pee, the bad bacteria that grows inside the bladder is flushed out. It may not go out completely after you empty your bladder and it starts re-growing as the bladder gets filled up. If you keep holding your urine most of the times, the amount of bacteria that grows will be more than that gets flushed causing a problem to your bladder.
That’s why in people who are suffering from UTIs, your doctor will advise you to keep drinking lots of water so that more bacteria can be flushed out. In worst case scenarios, the infection can reach the kidneys and damage them.
What are the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection?
- Stinking urine
- Cloudy urine
- Burning sensation when urinating. (Once in a while, if your penis feels the burning sensation, you can attribute it to the heat but if it is continuous, you must see a sexologist).
- Continuous urge to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Pain in pelvis region.
To read more on Urinary Tract Infections, you can go through ‘Urinary Tract Infections‘ article. (opens in a new window)
Your bladder is full and you want to hold your pee, what can you do?
Happens to every one of us at some time or the other right? All you need to do is to distract your brain from signalling you to pee.
- Play a game on your phone or browse through some interesting videos or apps
- Read a book or listen to songs that you enjoy
- If you are in sitting position, stay put. Standing may intensify the signal.
- If you are a cold room, get out and stay in a warmer place. Cold can aggravate the situation.