Typically, a person will not notice bladder habits unless something is extremely wrong. People assume that each person’s bladder habits are unique. However, there is a normal bladder rhythm that’s similar in most people but can easily be affected when people adopt certain behaviour. Check out these bad bladder habits that you probably don’t know are harmful.
1. Peeing ‘Just in Case’
Right from the onset of potty training, children are taught to pee before leaving the house for a journey, school, or running errands with parents. For many people peeing before leaving the house goes on even in adulthood. Although you don’t feel the urge to empty the bladder, you pee just in case you don’t find clean washrooms wherever you’re headed. Living in urban centres that are notorious for traffic jams is also a logical reason why one would empty the bladder before leaving the house or office.
Although these reasons make sense, you should limit the number of times that you pee before your bladder is full. ‘Just in case’ peeing disrupts normal bladder function.
For children with an average and healthy bladder, it takes 1 hour to fill an infant’s bladder. Toddlers aged between 1-3 years take about 2 hours to fill the bladder. While children aged 4-12 years typically take 2-4 hours. A healthy adult bladder can hold approximately 400-500 ml of urine, which is about 1.5-2 cups. An adult bladder takes 8-9 hours to fill completely. Although the number of hours is affected by drinking fluids like carbonated drinks, coffee, tea and alcohol. The muscles in your bladder’s wall remain relaxed as the urine fills up the bladder. As the bladder holds more urine, your brain gets signals that it’s almost time to use a toilet.
Frequently emptying the bladder before it is full results in forming a bad habit where the bladder sends a signal to your brain way before it’s full. You could suffer from urinary urgency or incontinence. In the long run, while the intention of peeing ‘just in case’ could be justified, the habit can cause major harm.
2. Holding in Pee For Too Long
In a bid to avoid using the washroom too many times, one can stay long without emptying their bladder despite the urge. Other times the situation calls for one to hold in their pee, maybe because of an exam, meeting or waiting to arrive at a destination. Most healthy bladders can stretch a bit more to accommodate slightly more than the normal amount of urine. However, frequently stretching your bladder muscle can lead to weakening leading to urinary incontinence.
Holding in your pee for too long can also lead to urinary retention. A healthy bladder can hold urine for about 9-10 hours. Holding it longer than this prevents the muscles from fully relaxing, thus retaining urine. Inability to fully empty the bladder can result in the frequent use of the toilet, which defeats the purpose of trying to hold it in for long in the first place.
Holding urine for long exposes your body to harmful bacteria causing UTIs. In some cases, severe UTIs result in complications like sepsis. Although it’s uncommon, holding in pee can also result in a life-threatening bladder burst.
It’s pretty common for people to drink less water so that they can avoid peeing more. However, drinking less water doesn’t necessarily result in fewer trips to the toilet. Although increased intake of fluids typically increases the build-up speed of the bladder, inadequate water consumption leads to concentrated urine. Concentrated urine can lead to bladder irritation, so in a bid to get rid of the irritants, you tend to use the washroom more times.
A healthy bladder is well designed to hold your pee long enough for you to find a place to empty it. Similarly, keeping pee longer than the recommended time causes you more discomfort than the ‘inconvenience’ of using a washroom. While there are people who need bladder timing due to urinary conditions, listening to your body is the best method for peeing. Emptying your bladder when your brain signals you also helps you immediately recognize a problem in your body if your patterns change.
4. Emptying your bladder more than 8 times a day
Emptying the bladder too many times is one of the bad bladder habits that you need to stop. While some people have reasonable grounds for peeing before the bladder is full, others simply form a habit of emptying it too frequently. Just like holding your pee for too long is harmful to your bladder, emptying it too frequently could lead to urine urgency.
It’s easy to form bad bladder habits because most people are not even aware that you can form bladder habits. Most people assume that they have no control over it- it’s all biological. Unless one has an existing bladder issue, your bladder is designed to take a reasonable amount of time to fill and your brain sends you enough warning early enough.
It’s advisable to factor in your day’s activities so that you don’t resort to bad bladder habits. If you have a long journey then avoid drinks that would require you to use the washroom frequently. While sometimes it’s inevitable, keep the occurrence of these bad bladder habits at a minimum.