From epidemic to leakage, this is what happens when you hold in your pee, and also why you need to stop ignoring the urge to urinate.

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Your bladder and holding in your pee

Consider this the following time you order a coffee: your bladder, once full, deserve to hold between 20 and also 30 ounces of liquid—somewhere in between a Starbucks “venti” and “trenta.”

It is an incredibly flexible organ.

When it’s empty, it’s only about two inch across. Yet when you under a supersize drink, her bladder can stretch to an ext than six inches.

However, just due to the fact that you deserve to hold this much urine and also stretch her bladder to the dimension of a grapefruit doesn’t median that you should.

Holding in her pee is necessary for work in your day-to-day life but routinely pushing your bladder come its boundaries can have actually serious consequences, says Michael Ingber, MD, urologist, woman pelvic medication surgeon, and assistant clinical professor the urology at Weill Cornell clinical College, in brand-new York.

How your bladder works

The bladder is a muscle that sits in the pelvis. It’s associated to your kidneys by two small tubes, dubbed ureters. The kidneys filter waste the end of your blood and also pass the leftover liquid through the ureters right into your bladder.

From there, waste is expelled together urine from your body v a tube called the urethra.

There’s an inner sphincter, or valve, between your bladder and urethra to avoid leakage and also backflow.

When your brain gives the signal to urinate, the sphincter opens and you pee.

Proper peeing is a learned skill

As her bladder fills, nerve fibers in the bladder sense the level the liquid and also send signals back to the spinal cord i m sorry travels as much as the brain.


When it senses that your bladder is one-quarter come one-third complete (6 to 10 ounces), your mind will give you that acquainted urge to urinate.

Once you hit around 20 ounces, you’ll begin to get that “I have to go right now, it’s one emergency” feeling, claims Austin DeRosa, MD, urologist with UCHealth Cancer facility in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and chair the robotic surgical procedure at the college of Colorado Medicine.

However, peeing is a voluntary engine response, meaning that you can train it and even override the signals, claims Dr. Ingber.

Infants and also young children simply let go of their urine at any time their mind signals, but part of “potty training” is discovering when to listen to the urge and also when come override it.

Over time, they discover to inhibit this reflex v the frontal cortex in the brain and just “let go” as soon as it’s appropriate.

How long should you hold your pee?

How regularly you need to go really relies on your individual physiology and how much liquid you eat and drink throughout the day, states Dr. DeRosa. (Yes, water from foodstuffs you eat counts too.)


On average, you can expect to urinate between six and also 10 time daily yet it have the right to vary widely between people and even native day to day, the adds.

This method that healthy, appropriately hydrated human being generally feel the urge to go every two to 4 hours throughout waking hours but it’s feasible to go lot longer.

How lengthy you can hold your urine is individual yet it’s not uncommon for people to go a whole work day without peeing, claims Dr. Ingber.

“I have numerous patients who room teachers and also can hold their urine because that eight hours throughout the day. My partner who do 10-hour surgeries have the right to hold your urine the whole time,” he says.

There isn’t an main record for how long someone has actually held their pee yet the Guinness human being Record for many urine ever before removed from a human at once is 22 liters, or almost six gallons.

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The man suffered native an enlarged kidney the blocked his urine flow. The recovered after medical treatment.