9 Surprising tricks to hold your urine a little longer when there’s no bathroom in sight

9 Surprising tricks to hold your urine a little longer when there's no bathroom in sight

Crossing your legs can help you fight the urge to pee, at least temporarily.

Britany George / EyeEm / Getty Images

  • Holding urine can be uncomfortable, but distracting yourself with games and singing can help temporarily.
  • Even a change in position, such as z. B. crossing and uncrossing your legs, or the "pee dance," can help.
  • If you have the opportunity to urinate, relax and give your bladder time to empty completely.
  • For more advice, check out the Insider Health Reference Library.

Most people pee around eight times a day and once at night. That there must often be a time or two when the urge strikes at an inopportune time, like when you are planning to obstruct an epic or you are stuck in traffic for hours on end.

"Sometimes we have no choice but to hold urine beyond our urge to urinate," says Brian Norouzi, MD, a urologist with Providence St. Joseph Hospital.

The brain and bladder both control urination, so healthy adults can choose – within certain limits – when and where to go. To buy yourself time, try these tips for holding your urine when there's no other choice.

1. Distract yourself

The best and most proven way to keep your urine flowing is to distract yourself, says Karyn Eilber, MD, a urologist with Cedars Sinai. A good conversation, heated debate, or favorite song can distract you from the physical feeling of needing to pee in the same way Distraction can help with painespecially for children.

2. Play a game

When chatting or singing no longer suffices, try increasing your distraction by getting competitive. Research has found that electronic gaming can reduce painful sensations more than passive distractions like watching a show. This can be anything from a guessing game, trivia, a word puzzle, a video game, a card game, or anything in between.

3. Change positions

There's a reason many of us do the "pee pee dance" when we need to go. Switching to a different position can relieve pressure on the bladder and make the urge less intense, Norouzi says.

He recommends stretching the upper body, but not stretching the abdominal muscles too much, which can increase pressure. Some people find that crossed legs help, while others say it makes the sensation worse. Experiment to find out what works for you.

4. Fart. Yes, fart.

Speaking of pressure on the bladder – gas can pass reducing internal pressure and giving you more time to reach a toilet, Norouzi says. Just remember that this requires careful muscle control.

You need to relax your anal sphincter muscles to let go of a fart while keeping the urethral sphincter – the muscle that controls the flow of urine from the bladder – tightly closed.

5. Turn down the air conditioning

Being too cold can cause your body to produce more urine. This is a condition known as cold diuresiswhich occurs in response to blood pressure changes in very cold temperatures that put you at risk for hypothermia.

Still, adjusting the temperature doesn't hurt even when it's not that cold, and can give you a much-needed distraction.

6. Drain the water

Ultimately, the best way to avoid having to stop your urine is to plan ahead when you know your bathroom access will be limited, Eilber says.

Excess water – more than your body needs to function – is excreted internally very quickly 5 to 20 minutes. If you're preparing for a long car ride or speech, avoiding liquids in the hour or so before you leave can be helpful.

A regularly hydrated person should be able to go at least 3 hours without peeing, she says.

7. If you have the opportunity, go, even if you don't think you need to

If you have access to a restroom – like at a rest stop on a car trip – it's a good idea to go there even if you don't think you need it. This is called preventive bladder emptying.

By letting your bladder empty completely, you can wait longer until your next toilet trip.

8. Exercise your bladder

If you often find yourself in situations where you need to hold your pee, you might benefit from bladder training, says Eilber. This includes urinating at set intervals, z. B. Every hour.

Each week, increase the time by five minutes until you pee at an interval that is comfortable and healthy for you.

"You're physically stretching the muscle," says Eilber, which allows the bladder to comfortably hold more urine. Wait about six weeks to see a difference.

9. Peeing completely

When you finally reach a toilet, you may have problems urinating. That's because your pelvic floor muscles have been tightly contracted to hold the pee, Norouzi says.

Allow yourself 5-10 minutes on the toilet to fully relax your muscles and ensure your bladder is completely empty, he says.

Is it bad to pee for a long time?

It's okay to withhold urine in emergency situations, but you shouldn't make a habit of it, says Norouzi.

Delaying urination can weaken your bladder muscles and make you vulnerable to infections like urinary tract infections. In addition, sooner or later your bladder will no longer be able to hold urine.

"At some point it is no longer the head. 'You might get your feet wet there,' says Eilber.

How much urine can a bladder hold?

The average adult's bladder can hold 300-400 milliliters (ml) of urine. That's about 10-13 fluid ounces, or more than a cup of fluid.

But you can expect to produce 800-2.000ml of urine every day. Hence the need to pee several times throughout the day.

Insider takeaway

Having to pee when no restroom is available can make you feel desperate. Distracting yourself, playing a game, changing position, changing temperature, and even farting may help temporarily, but sooner or later you risk an accident if you delay urination.

There is no danger in peeing occasionally, but if you do it regularly, it can affect your muscle control and lead to infections. Besides, it's just inconvenient, says Eilber.

"There's nothing wrong with postponing if you have to," she says. But why wait?

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