Can holding pee harm you?

Heather Campbell
 min read

Can holding pee harm you or is it wrong to hold your pee? Sometimes you just don’t feel like peeing, or there is simply no toilet nearby. But can it hurt to hold your pee?

Can holding pee harm you?

The answer is that it is not a problem to hold your pee every once in a while, as long as you don’t do it regularly, since you would then risk your bladder becoming less efficient over time, making it harder to empty the bladder.

In this article, we discuss the effects of holding in your pee and share a number of pee facts that are good to know. We’ll also go over holding in your stool.

Then, we share a peeing tip for men with an enlarged prostrate and discuss the difference between holding in your pee occasionally vs continuously.

Finally, we discuss what you can do if you are having trouble holding your pee.

While we’re on the topic, if you’re in need of a new toilet seat, have a look at these reviews of top toilet seats for plus-size folks.

Can holding pee harm you? An introduction

The need to pee is often quite light. So you can sometimes feel able to finish what you’re working on. Sometimes that initial urge even disappears for a while. 

However, if the urge doesn’t go away, you often feel the urge increasing. And that’s when you go to the toilet to pee. Holding your urine unnecessarily is not a good idea.

There is no harm in holding your pee once in a while. But it’s not okay for your bladder if you do it regularly.

Your bladder is like a muscular balloon. If you keep holding your pee, that balloon can get bigger and bigger and become less efficient.

Your bladder then has less strength to empty itself over time.

Peeing tip for men with enlarged prostate

Suppose you’re a man who has difficulty peeing because you have an enlarged prostate.

In that case, it’s not so smart to hold your pee for a very long time. In fact, you need to empty your bladder smoothly then. 

But if you often feel like you have to pee, but you can’t effectively empty your bladder, then it does make sense to wait for a while.

This way, you train yourself to go to the bathroom less often.

What about holding in your stool?

It’s best not to delay your bowel movements.

If you ignore the need, then the urge may not come again until hours later, or even the next day. 

In the meantime, the intestine draws the fluid from the stool, making the stool become hard.

The longer you wait, the harder your poop becomes, and the harder it will be to get rid of.

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Effects of holding in pee

Holding your pee can have some consequences.

Because when you hold your pee, you do so with your pelvic floor muscles. If you often hold up longer, those muscles can start to cramp.

This means that when you want to urinate, you will have trouble relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. 

You’ll notice that:

  • you have to wait longer for the pee to get going
  • the stream is getting slacker
  • you’re not peeing properly

In addition, the bladder muscle can also start to cramp. This can cause constant urges or even pain in the bladder. 

It’s also bad for your kidneys. If you hold your pee for a while, the kidneys can’t deliver the urine to the bladder anymore.

If your bladder can no longer contract properly, urine may be left behind when you pee. This results in a bigger chance of bladder infection or possibly bladder stones. 

The urine then starts to clump a bit, forming stones in your bladder.

In addition, if your bladder becomes very full and gives a high pressure, it can also be bad for your kidneys.

The urine then can’t get from your kidneys to the bladder properly.

Occasionally holding in urine VS continuously holding in urine

There is no harm in holding your urine from time to time. That’s what the body is set up for. You don’t always have a toilet nearby, so it might take a little longer to get to the bathroom.

After going to the bathroom, the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder muscle are again given time to relax properly. 

On the other hand, always holding your pee can cause cramping of the bladder and pelvic floor muscles. You may also create an overactive bladder as a result.

If you teach yourself to always hold your urine, you can stretch your bladder. After you pee, the bladder gradually and unconsciously fills. You will only notice an urge to pee when the bladder is full again.

It won’t hurt after putting that off for a while. But when done all the time, there is a chance your bladder will get bigger and bigger, which can cause problems in the long run.

What is the best thing to do if you have trouble holding your pee? 

What is the best solution to this problem? Regular preventive toilet visits or start bladder training?

You can’t actually train your bladder because it is an involuntary muscle. You can try to hold it for a while, but you are actually doing that with your sphincter. 

Do you have to pee often or pee small bits often? Then it may help to hold it for a while when you feel the urge. It’s okay once in a while, but you shouldn’t do it for too long.

Many people pay a visit to the toilet before going out. This is helpful because then, of course, your bladder is empty. It then takes longer before you feel the urge again. 

But if you have bladder issues, it’s best to go to a specialist for advice. For example, plan an appointment with a registered pelvic physical therapist. Such a professional will look for the cause of the symptoms. 

You can regain control over your pee with advice on drinking, urination behavior, and training the pelvic floor muscles. 

Good to know

If you drink as recommended, you should go to the toilet 4 to 9 times a day to pee. Normal drinking means 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. 

Some people also go to the bathroom once during the night. Therefore, the advice is to drink plenty of fluids, go pee in time, and take the time to pee.

Keeping a good posture while urinating is also important, especially for women. So make sure you are sitting correctly on the toilet: lower and upper legs bent at a 90-degree angle.

The thighs and torso are also at a 90-degree angle to relax your pelvic floor correctly.

Can holding pee harm you? Conclusion

It’s unlikely to harm you if you hold your pee occasionally. Making a habit out of it is not a good idea though because it could cause you problems in the long run.

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble holding your pee or have to go very often with little discharge, speak to your doctor to discuss the problem and get the help you need.

About Heather Campbell

As a dietitian, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More