Sorry for the direct question, but do you usually go to the bathroom right before you leave the house? Or do you tend to hold it in when you're away from home? Some people do this to avoid the hassle of searching for a public restroom or inconveniencing friends while they’re out and about. But it turns out that both of these habits are not very good for your bladder.
Both forcing yourself and holding it in isn’t such a good idea according to urologists. For one, having the habit of going to the bathroom with a half-empty bladder could train you to go to the bathroom more frequently or even makes it shrink a bit.
An adult’s bladder can hold around 14-17 oz (400-500 ml) of liquid - or about 3 glasses. Having the habit of emptying a half-empty bladder can train an early urge to urinate. As Dr. Steven A. Kaplan, director of Benign Urologic Diseases at the Mount Sinai Health System shared with The Healthy, “People sensitize their bladders to go at lower volumes than needed.”
In some cases, this increased bladder sensitivity could even interrupt your sleep and wake you up at night. To read more about nighttime urination, read this - The Surprising and Dangerous Causes of Nighttime Urination.
As for those who experience incontinence, or reduced control of urination, going to the bathroom before you head outside may be a good idea. But keep in mind that this is just a temporary solution, and you should definitely see your doctor and try doing exercises and other approaches to address the underlying issue. We list such exercises and other tips here - Cures for a Weak Bladder.
For those of you wondering how often one should urinate, know that it varies from person to person, but usually, it’s between 6 and 8 times a day. Marcelino Rivera, an assistant professor of urology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, shared one piece of advice with the Huffington Post on this very topic, and it’s, “People should really listen to their body.”
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself not to go to the bathroom, as postponing a trip to the bathroom can be just as bad, if not more harmful. Since the bladder is made up largely of muscle, keeping the urine in can end up overstretching and injuring it. This, in turn, can make it more difficult for you to control urination and could eventually even lead to urinary problems. Urine staying in the bladder for a long time can also increase the risk of a urinary tract infection, especially in women. So holding in the urine is actually really bad for your health, especially if you already have a history of UTIs and other urinary problems.
The bottom line is, be mindful of your bladder's need, maintain a steady schedule, and try not to force yourself to keep up your bladder health.
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