By Tola Gbadamosi
If you have ever been stuck in a traffic gridlock at a wee, you will testify that one can face a life threatening situation has come by not getting anywhere to urinate. It could also be at a busy market in a strange land while you are out there shopping. However, medical experts have advised not to keep urine for long hours.
The bladder is made of muscular and elastic tissue, the fuller the bladder, the more the elastic tissue stretches. When it is finally time to let loose, the brain signals the inhibitory nerves that it is fine to squeeze, emptying your bladder and triggering a feeling.
One of the most horrifying cases of a long time rested individual was that of Jennifer Strange who died after entering a UK radio competition called “Hold your wee for a Wii” in 2007 and drank seven litres of water without going to the bathroom.
The mother-of-three died of “acute water intoxication” for her efforts to win a Nintendo and her families were later awarded $20 million damages, plus 10 radio station staff were fired.
While most of us will not be subjecting ourselves to those sorts of extremes, Wellness & Fitness spoke with Dr Rachel Olarotimi of Federal Medical Center Owo, who cautioned against holding on for extended periods because you could end up with acute urinary retention. She said, “If you hold on for long enough, your bladder can become so stretched, if you are unable to contract and then you have to come to the hospital and get a catheter put into your system.
People who hold on regularly, such as operating theatre nurses, can be at risk of long-term damage. If adult women hold on for too long, often their bladder becomes distended and the muscle gets weak and they get a big floppy bladder that does not empty very well.
Constantly holding on your urine can also lead people to involuntarily wet themselves, this is a situation mostly seen in children. That is because holding on strengthens the bladder wall to the point that the sphincter is too weak to resist the pressure.
In most cases the muscle starts having little contractions out of the blue instead of being relaxed and storing the urine at a low pressure,” Dr Olarotimi explained.”
If they have a few beer they can over fill their bladder and they can not urinate at all. It is very rare for the bladder to rupture just from holding on. It can happen in some rare medical conditions but it would not likely happen to an average healthy person.
Although there have been cases of an enlarged prostate gland, which can reduce the bladder’s capacity for emptying.
It can happen in older men and they have more trouble passing urine and they tend to leave urine behind,” she explained.
“If they have a few beers they can overfill their bladder and then they can’t urinate at all. He may well have had a big prostate gland and developed kidney problems because of that.
“There are kids who get in the habit of going to the toilet every five minutes and the more they go to the toilet the more they feel like their bladder is full. Most parents should watch it because it is bad to go too often and it is bad to go infrequently. It is advisable you should go four to seven times a day.
Dr Olarotimi points out that, caffeine can irritate your bladder and make you need to pee more often. As for alcohol, which most drinkers credit with an increase in toilet trips, Dr Smith said it’s usually the volume of liquid consumed as opposed to the alcohol itself that made you need to pee more.
The average bladder holds 400-550ml of liquid and you will get there faster if you are drinking, “she points out that those who frequent beer palours will no doubt always pest, which suggests you should not hold onto pee for a long time.
There is not much merit to the theory because when your bladder hits a certain amount of liquid, your body will naturally want to dispel it. It is worth noting however that the intensity of signals from the bladder to the brain can dull if you have been holding on for a while.
“If you hold on for long enough your brain will start to ignore that signal and you will not feel when your bladder is full.
It is just like when you are in a room with a strange smell or sound. After a while your brain switches off and you do not notice any more.
Ultimately, Dr Olarotimi recommended breaking the seal when you need to, but if it is happening too often, then chat with you
What to do when you are stuck at middle of exercise, in the gym, or in the middle of a movie, during an important meeting with your boss, or the moment you leave your doorstep. And sometimes you just have to fight back. Yet in the battle of your willpower versus your bladder, is there really a winner. It is what you react back but submit and go, to take to a release of yourself.