What really happens to your body if you hold for the toilet?

Whether it’s during a long car trip, waiting in queue or simply because we are busy, many of us are

Whether it’s during a long car trip, waiting in queue or simply because we are busy, many of us are guilty of holding onto our bladders.

However, waiting to visit the toilet can have real affects on our bodies which worsen over time. If you frequently hold your bladder, or do so for extended periods of time, here’s what to know.

Your bladder can retain up to 500mL of urine before the “need to go” arises. Receptors within the walls of your bladder will alert your brain that it’s time for a toilet trip.

However, toilet training throughout our childhood enables us to “hold”. If you choose not to use the bathroom, sphincters throughout your urethra will clamp tightly shut.

Doing this too often though can have long-term affects. Putting undue pressure on your bladder and urethra can lead to problems like “urinary retention” and “UTIs”.

Urinary retention is the inability to empty your bladder completely, a problem which can be quite uncomfortable for mature-age people.

Meanwhile, “UTIs” are urinary tract infections. These are more likely to occur within people who hold their urine, because their bladder muscles are weaker and attract more bacteria.

In extreme cases, holding on to your bladder for too long can result in your body overriding the brain, and leaving you with an embarrassingly wet pair of knickers.

Bladders have also been known to burst in sick or elderly people who have “held on” too long. So next time nature calls, heed its warning for your own health and wellbeing.

When are you most likely to hold on for the bathroom? Do you always go when “nature calls”?

  1. Rocky  

    As a nurse I have often arrive home and realise I haven’t been since before I left for work. Usually no time to go.

  2. Hold on onto the bladder, what I joke, I lost my holding power long ago, want to go find a toilet quick.

  3. Can also lead to an inability to go and lead to a permenantS.P.C.with bags night and day

    • ….. or a teacher. Nursing and teaching are the only professions where a ‘toilet break’ has to be scheduled into the daily programme……. IF YOU ARE LUCKY to get that break!!!

      • You can add hairdressers go that . Have interstitial cystitis , and was told by my gyno that my situation would be much worse if I had not kernes to hold my bladder

    • Was a nurse for 43 yrs and a sonographer told me recently that nurses and teachers, in her experience, have the majority of bladder problems as they age.

    • Totally agree, as a teacher 11am, 1pm and 3.45 were toilet times if you didn’t have yard duty lol. Otherwise you just held on 😊

  4. I hold on, I find the main cause of uti,’s is rushing when you urinate and not finishing the job properly

  5. I think I suffer from urinary retention but my doctor has sent me to a gynaecologist who says my urethra has become hard with age and has prescribed a hormone cream. I will be going back to my doctor with this information.

  6. I was wanting to pee so often and got UTIs and then a doctor told me to take a cranberry tablet every day rather than cranberry juice. I haven’t finished 1st container yet and a huge improvement and now only getting up once at night as well. I bought Swisse high strength cranberry 25,000 mg capsules at Woolworths and would recommend them.I think they were $22 for 30.

    • June Montgomery  

      I take Cranberry capsules daily. A friend of mine told me about them about a year ago and I would recommend them to anyone, take them as a precaution against any UTI I don’t think it matters what brand they are. I have had a couple of different brands with very good results.

  7. Pamela  

    Holding too long can also force urine to back up the ureters to the kidneys, causing kidney pain and damage.

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