5 Fascinating Things That Happen When You Hold In Your Pee Too Long

by Isadora Baum, CHC

Gotta go? Don't hold it in. Waiting too long before finding a bathroom may not be the best idea. So, when you hold in your pee too long, instead of just taking a break and finding a toilet ASAP, you are setting yourself up for the potential risk of a slew of unfortunate symptoms. (Which won't make those extra minutes working on a deadline worth it, right?)

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on staying in tune with their bodily needs, so when it's calling out, "I need to pee NOW," it's a good idea to listen up. If you don't, you won't be giving your body the care it needs, and it could cause strain or complications in other areas, which can persist unless treated as necessary. Clearly, it's not worth the hassle here, especially when it only takes a few minutes to use the restroom. Besides, when enduring the uncomfortable feeling of having too much in the tank, you're also increasing risk of certain bladder conditions, which will require further assistance in treating, Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwell Health and attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital tells Bustle. So, what can happen? Here are five things to look out for.



One potential risk of holding urine in too long is getting a urinary tract infection. "Whether you are busy at work, running around doing errands, or driving long distances, it’s important to remember not to hold urine in," says Glatter. "Urine that remains in the bladder for longer periods of time places you at greater risk of infection." And, you'll need to treat it with antibiotics.


Bladder Rupture

Sounds scary, but take note, it's not super likely to happen. Still, it's worth noting, Glatter says. "While this is quite rare, it’s still possible it could occur," says Glatter. "This usually occurs in the setting of prior bladder injury or scarring from surgery or past inflammation." So, if you've ever had these conditions before, you'll really want to be careful about holding in pee for too long.



Ashley Batz/Bustle

If you hold pee in too long, you might strain your sphincters aka the muscles that control the flow of urine, which will cause them to "fatigue," says Glatter. This can result in leakage or incontinence, as your bladder can't adequately control the flow. "Healthy sphincters are vital to a healthy functioning bladder," says Glatter.


Bladder Expansion

Turns out, when you hold pee in for too long your bladder might stretch in size. If you force it to expand, you'll be peeing more frequently in the day, which can be super annoying. And, you'll also weaken those bladder muscles, so it'll be harder to resist the urge to pee, too, says Glatter.


Your Sphincters Close

When you're holding on to too much pee, which can cause pressure in the bladder, it makes your sphincters close up, Glatter says. "This can lead to damage to urinary sphincters," Glatter says, where they get too tight. And that may be uncomfortable, and it can lead to more leakage, too.

If you're used to holding in your pee for too long, you may want to reconsider. Not only can it make you feel discomfort (I mean, who really likes the feeling of dying to pee and hopelessness), but it can also lead to incontinence and other infections, which you really don't want to have to deal with.