Why Holding In Your Pee Is Riskier Than You Think

Although road trip vacations can be fun, it's not always the most comfortable form of travel. Cramped leg muscles, boredom, and the endless stretches of highway are not everyone's idea of a luxurious getaway. Even worse, is that feeling of panic that sets in when you've been driving for hours and there's no rest stop in sight. We're then forced to hold in our pee until the next gas station, but getting in the habit of regularly holding in our urine can pose some potential health risks.

The average person urinates around six to seven times a day (via Bladder & Bowel Community). Being so busy, we don't always realize our need to pee. That's because our bladders have a rather large capacity to hold liquid by as much as two cups before we feel that sudden urge "to go" (via theĀ Kidney & Urology Foundation of America). Our urinary system rids our bodies of liquid waste after we've used up the nutrients and energy from the food we ingest (via theĀ University of Rochester Medical Center). Preventing this bodily function can put strain on our bladder.

Infection, bladder tears, and bedwetting can result from holding in your pee

Because urine contains bacteria, holding our pee for long periods of time allows that bacteria to accumulate and remain in our bodies longer than it's supposed to (via Healthline). As a result, this increases the chances of contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI). In very rare cases, news reports have been made of people's bladders exploding after excessively long periods of holding in their urine. In a case reported by the New York Post, a man's bladder tore after not relieving himself for a total of eighteen hours when he fell asleep after a night of heavy drinking.

Perhaps a more overlooked health risk, is the emotional stress on young students unable to use the bathroom throughout the school day (via Sharp). Without regular bathroom breaks, public accidents or nighttime bedwetting can occur. Children often feel shame around bedwetting because society labels it "abnormal" (via Psychology Today). Clinical Psychologist, David J. Ley, advises parents to approach bedwetting with patience and a "no biggie" attitude in order to help remove the negative stigma.

Of course, sometimes we have no choice but to hold in our pee if we don't have access to a nearby restroom. Every so often is generally not cause for concern, but paying attention to when our bodies are telling us to relieve ourselves, keeps our body functioning as it should.