We’re all guilty of holding in wee every now and then. But could holding in a full bladder be ruining your health?
It depends, according to a D News report, which suggests that while holding your bladder every now and then shouldn’t cause issues, people who do it regularly may increase their risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs), incontinence issues or, in extreme cases, bursting their bladder.
The average adult bladder can only hold about 16 ounces-worth of liquid before it needs to be emptied.
As a result, the average person will relieve themselves between four and seven times a day.
What happens when you need to urinate?
When your bladder fills up, stretch receptors along your bladder walls send a signal through your spinal chord up into your brain.
In response, your brain sends back a reflex signal telling the detrusor muscle in your bladder to contract. This then squeezes your bladder and creates an even stronger stretch reflex.
This feedback loop makes you realise you need to go to the toilet and your internal bladder sphincter then opens up, ready to empty the contents of your bladder.
The external sphincter meanwhile acts as the last line of defence, stopping you from wetting yourself. As time goes on, your external sphincter will go head-to-head with your detrusor muscle, but the latter often wins - resulting in leaks.
What issues are caused by holding your bladder?
Holding in your wee can result in urinary tract infections. This is because the longer you let your urine stagnate in your bladder, the more likely it is to build up bacteria like E.Coli.
Holding it in can also result in urinary retention, which is when your detrusor muscle is unable to fully empty your bladder.
If your bladder is structurally weak and you don’t go to the toilet, despite your body telling you to, your bladder can rupture against the seal of your external sphincter.
This fills the abdomen with urine, which will then need to be removed by doctors.