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Health and Medicine

This Is What Happens When You Hold In Your Pee For Too Long

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Kevin Priolo and Shira Polan

Guest Author

clockSep 29 2018, 11:05 UTC

Everyone holds in their pee every now and then. And that's okay! Just don't do it too often, or it could lead to some serious problems down the road. 

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You’re about an hour and a half into the movie and, boy, are you regretting that large soda. You can hold it... but should you?

Peeing is pretty important. Your kidneys filter excess water and waste out of your blood and that urine needs somewhere to go: your bladder. Normally, it’ll hold 1-2 cups comfortably. But if you make a habit of holding your pee for long periods of time, you can actually stretch your bladder to easily hold even more.

Case in point, one study found that nurses who often held it in all day due to job constraints had nearly double the normal bladder capacity! And they were totally fine.

But this doesn’t mean you should hold it in if you can help it. Because your bladder may not be the only thing to stretch.

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You may also stretch your external sphincter muscles. Those are important muscles connected to the outside of your bladder that are the gate-keepers of your golden liquid. Clench them and you hold in the gold. Relax them and you release the flood! But if you overstretch them, you can actually lose control. This is rare, and usually takes decades of holding it too long to reach that point, but once you do, it can lead to some awkward or even dangerous situations.

For example, with less overall control, you risk leaking urine when your bladder is full and not emptying it all the way when you finally do go. Not only can this increase your need to urinate more often since your bladder fills up quicker, it can also lead to a serious disorder called urinary retention, where you end up with too much urine in your bladder for too long. And since your bladder is basically a warm, wet bag of body waste, it’s the PERFECT breeding ground for harmful bacteria that’ll cause all sorts of damage.

Even worse, if you’re really unlucky and retain too much urine, it may back up into your kidneys. Which could lead to kidney failure, and ultimately death.

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The good news is that you’re more likely to just lose control of your muscles and pee waaaay before your bladder hits that point. But why not just reduce the risk all together and go to the bathroom?

Ok, ok, we get it. That movie is absolutely gripping. Luckily... You’ll be fine if you only hold it in for a short time, every once in a while. So go ahead, hang in there... just don’t make a habit of it. 

Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2018.

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