Holding urine too long can cause harmful symptoms in your body, including trouble with your bladder and kidneys.
Here are some of the most common symptoms you may experience when holding your pee too long, how long you can hold urine before it becomes dangerous, and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What happens if you hold your pee? (How our body reacts)
Holding in urine can also cause infection because of bacteria that live naturally in the urinary tract. Healthy kidneys produce a balance of fluids and electrolytes that keep the body hydrated and healthy. When you don’t urinate, the toxic waste products in your urine build up and create an environment where bacteria can thrive. This can lead to bladder infections, which are dangerous and painful. Holding in urine also stretches out the bladder muscles over time making it more difficult to empty the bladder.
If someone continues to stretch their bladder muscles over time they may have trouble controlling their bladder at all, even when they are not holding their pee! Bladder infections are usually treated with antibiotics but if not treated properly they can become a serious condition. Infections may be painful or uncomfortable but often do not have any symptoms at all so many people do not realize they have them until they see their doctor.
Other bladder problems result from holding in urine like bladder stones or kidney damage which are more serious issues than bladder infections.
#1. Kidney failure:
The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood and removing it from the body as urine. If the kidneys are under too much pressure, they may eventually stop functioning altogether and require dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
#2. Urinary tract infections:
Toxic substances in urine can irritate the bladder and cause a urinary tract infection, which is an infection of the urethra, bladder, and/or kidneys. Urinating more often will help flush out any bacteria that may be causing the infection!
Also check: Yoga for urinary system disorders/UTIs
#3. Enlarged prostate:
When there's not enough room in the bladder, urine flows back up the tubes that connect to the bladder. One of these tubes is called the urethra; this tube carries urine from the bladder through the penis during urination. When these tubes get blocked due to holding your pee for long periods, it becomes hard or painful to urinate at all. You may also feel some discomfort during sex because these tubes carry sperm. The enlargement of the prostate due to holding your pee can lead to a serious condition called prostatitis. It may take months before the symptoms go away after stopping the habits that caused them.
#4. Bladder control problems:
Holding your pee for long periods can sometimes lead to issues with bladder control. Some people may experience difficulty emptying their bladders even when they do use the bathroom. Others may find themselves leaking urine involuntarily or experiencing an overactive bladder - meaning that the urge to use the restroom comes on so quickly that there isn't always enough time to make it to the toilet in time.
#5. Urinary retention:
Holding in your pee for too long can result in severe pain or damage to the pelvic area, bladder, and kidneys. In extreme cases, chronic urinary retention has been known to result in death due to tissue necrosis (tissue death) or uncontrolled bacterial growth (sepsis).
How long can you hold your pee without harming your health?
A healthy bladder can hold about 2 cups of urine, which is roughly the size of a soda bottle. Your bladder has muscles that contract and release to store and release urine. It takes your body 9 to 10 hours to produce 2 cups of urine.
As long as you have been urinating regularly throughout the day, it should not hurt your health if you wait an hour or two before going to the toilet. If you are older than 50 years old, holding your pee may cause problems with incontinence or prostate issues because they may affect bladder control.
If you need to hold it, try these tips:
- Go right after a meal, especially if it's high in fiber and protein. This will help give your bladder some bulk so that it can last longer.
- Find an activity that will keep your mind off of the urge to go, such as reading or walking around the block.
- Take a relaxing, warm bath. The warmth will relax your muscles and may give you more bladder control.
- Scroll through social media for about 10 minutes. You'll be surprised how long 10 minutes feels when there is something else taking up your attention!
How much urine can a bladder hold normally?
The average bladder can hold about a quart of urine and will gradually fill if an individual does not urinate. The body signals that it needs to urinate by contracting the muscles in the bladder. When these muscles contract, they push the urine out of the bladder and into the urethra where it exits the body through a process called voiding.
What does your pee color tell you about your hydration levels?
What is considered an abnormal urinary frequency or polyuria, and how often should one urinate?
Urinary frequency is the number of times one goes to urinate. A person with a normal urinary frequency should go to the bathroom about six or seven times per day. If this sounds like too many, it could be that the person is drinking more than usual, which will make them have to go to the bathroom more often. The opposite would also be true - if someone has a high urinary frequency and drinks less, their bladder may not feel full enough and they may not have an urge to go as often.
Holding it too long can cause serious health problems, including bladder and kidney infections, urinary tract stones, and even kidney damage. Holding it too long can also make the bladder muscles contract, which can lead to incontinence. Hold it as long as you need to but not too much more than that! It is also important to note that women are at higher risk of developing urinary tract infections because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, which increases their chance of bacteria from stool getting into the bladder.
Urinary tract infection symptoms include pain or pressure in the lower abdomen, pain while urinating (especially during intercourse), frequent urge to urinate, cloudy urine, and increased fever or chills. You should always consult with a doctor if you have any questions about what's happening after holding your pee.