What Happens To Your Body When You Hold Your Pee?

By adulthood, we've all mastered the art of holding our pee — but that doesn't always mean it's a good idea. So what exactly happens to your body when you hold your pee? The answer might have you making extra trips to the bathroom.

The good news is that holding your pee in a single instance doesn't have long term consequences — usually. There are a few famous counter-examples, such as that of Tycho Brahe, the 16th century astronomer with a massive mustache and a moose he kept as a pet, who died of a burst bladder. As best people can tell, Brahe chose not to excuse himself to go to the bathroom during a royal banquet because it would be rude, causing his bladder to rupture. Yikes!

But for most people, the consequences aren't so dire. Thankfully.

Still, holding your pee does have an effect on your body, and if you're doing it a lot, you increase your risk of developing more serious health conditions. Which means that, no matter how inconvenient it is, sometimes you really do need to listen to what your body is telling you and just go to the bathroom. You'll be glad in the long run.

Here are five things that happen to your body when you hold your pee.

Bladder Stretching

The average human bladder can only hold about 15 ounces of liquid; the average person is supposed to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Which means that even if you're stretching your bladder to maximum capacity, you're going to need to pee more than four times a day (though doctors say that you should actually shoot for more like eight to 10). And the emphasis there is on "stretch." If you force your bladder to hold more than it should on a regular basis, the bladder can stretch — which might sound like a benefit, but is actually unhealthy because it makes the bladder weaker.

Weakened Bladder Muscles

The reason you're able to hold your pee at all is due to tiny muscles that keep your bladder closed. And obviously, you want them to be good at their job. But if you're using them constantly to try to keep urine in, those muscles can start to weaken, and that can lead to problems.

Bacteria Builds Up

Obviously, the whole point of holding it is to keep urine from leaving your body — but that also mean the urine that has built up stays inside your body, which also means the bacteria in your urine stays inside, too. This can lead to a whole host of problems, including infection and fever.

Bladder and Urinary Tract Infection

One of the worse effects of bacterial buildup due to holding your pee is a bladder or urinary tract infection. This can be both uncomfortable and very painful, especially for women. They're really best avoided.

Kidney Infection

There is always a chance that bladder and urinary tract infections can spread to the kidneys, and if you're getting those infections frequently, it's even more likely that eventually one of them will result in a kidney infection. Which is bad news, because not only are they painful, but they can occasionally result in dangerous — even life threatening — complications.

It all seems like a lot of unnecessary problems when you could have just gone to the bathroom regularly.

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