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This Might Be Why You Pee so Much

Pee before you read this

04.03.17
Photo by Frederic Lewis:Getty Images

It is 11 a.m. and I have already peed four times today. I would like to submit this as evidence that I am, in fact, the most frequent pee-er at Man Repeller. This is a longstanding debate in our office, with each of us claiming the title on a near weekly basis. While we’ll never know who truly rains supreme (not a spelling error) — my idea of a paper tally was shot down by HR — the critical question at the root of our debate remains: Are we peeing too much?

I can’t speak for everyone else, but today I learned I do pee too much. And it’s probably my fault. According to Medical News Today, I ought to be peeing between six and eight times a day, also known as about a third of my current status quo. Apparently, an excess of trips to the bathroom could mean I’m “failing to completely void my bladder,” which is my new favorite way to sound fancy.

Medical News Today reports many of us are failing to properly empty our tanks. The cool news is there are both explanations and solutions for this particular problem. Which I’m going to tell you about right after I pee for a fifth time before lunch.

For one, we may be waiting too long to pee. “When the bladder is stretched excessively,” says MNT, “it may not ‘snap’ back as effectively. This results in further difficulty with complete voiding.” We may also be rushing or distracted. That’s a yes, yes and yes for me. Failing to void our bladders isn’t just inconvenient, though, it also puts us at risk of UTIs or, worse, kidney infection.

The presented solutions include double voiding, Credé’s maneuver, bladder percussion, stimulation therapy and vibration therapy, which all sound so much more intense than they are. To that end, consider shouting that you’re doing any one of these next time someone knocks on the bathroom door and you want them to go away.

Double voiding, which is explained in detail here, essentially involves waiting on the toilet for 20 to 30 seconds after you finish finish peeing, leaning forward to place your elbows on your knees or thighs and then urinating again. More often than not, there’s a little left in us that we didn’t feel. “The Credé maneuver involves sitting on the toilet and leaning slightly forward before urinating. A person should place each hand above their pubic bone, press slightly inward toward their stomach and begin urinating.” Both merely require patience.

Other methods, like bladder percussion, are a little more active: “Tapping on the bladder with slight pressure can cause contractions that will help pass urine.” And for stimulation therapy, consider the frightening task of  “pulling on the pubic hairs” or massaging your lower stomach or inner thighs. For the very brave/desperate/hedonistic, bring your vibrator into the bathroom with you and engage in some vibration therapy, as “the vibrations can stimulate the bladder and encourage emptying.” Frankly, these approaches sound fun for all involved.

If you’re not bothered by urinary frequency, ignore all of this. But if you are, consider bringing a little more focus into the picture next time you’re peeing (and maybe stop Instagramming or something). Now please weigh in: Do you think you pee too much? DO YOU THINK YOU PEE MORE THAN ME? (Bring it.) Have you ever tried any of these bladder hacks? I’ll meet you in the comments right after I head in for #6.

Photo by Frederic Lewis via Getty Images.

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  • Coco

    I think you mean “pee so often”, not “pee so much”. “So much” would mean you’re drinking too much liquid or you have a medical issue.

  • Fran

    Every time I read an article by Haley I get more and more convinced that she’s my spirit animal

    • Haley Nahman

      omg really but this was just about PEEING
      love u for this still

  • Samantha Lee

    OMG thank you for speaking directly to me. I pee more than anyone I know – I’m basically in a constant state of having to pee. Sometimes I’ll go before bed and 20 minutes later have to go again. AND I’ll wake up during the night (like, every night) – this is a thing that started four years ago, and man is it annoying. Drink something during a movie at the theater? Forget about it – I won’t make it through the whole movie. I know I drink waaay more water than I used to, but isn’t that a good thing?! Why am I being punished by always having to run to the bathroom?!?!

    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

    • Samantha Lee

      P.S. Have to pee right now. BRB.

    • Me too! I used to barely drink water, then I got a water bottle and I drink a lot more. Consequently I have to pee a lot more. Sometimes I swear it only takes a sip. If I’m getting ready to go out, I pee before I start getting ready and then I pee again before I leave my house. But if I don’t drink for longer periods of time I can last a few hours.

  • This was super interesting. I pee way more when I’m at work, so I think my problem is just that I’m kind of bored!

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • Inaat

    I feel like I pee all the time, or at least have the feeling of having to pee. It’s like a UTI without the pain. (It’s not a UTI, I also made my doctor test me for diabetes). I heard about something called nervous bladder. But thanks for the tips, will try it when I go in prob five mins.

    • Lori

      It might be interstitial cystitis. Not very common but a nightmare to get diagnosed.

  • Quinn Halman

    I have waited and needed to read this for the last 19 years and 355 days aka my entire life. Thank you, Haley, Patron Saint of Bladder Awareness

    • Rheanonn Perez

      happy almost bday!

  • Jamie Leland

    When I was little, I used to get frequent UTIs from not going often enough (and probably failing to completely void my bladder as a result). I ended up getting a kidney infection (thanks to an anatomical mutation, they later found), which prompted a slew of tests — mostly a MILLION ultrasounds. You have to pee before the ultrasound, and I remember one time in particular the technician asked me to go to the bathroom immediately after I’d already gone. I was shocked to find there was, in fact, more pee to be peed.

    What surprises me about this is that no one stressed to me that I needed to make sure to completely void my bladder when I went pee and instead emphasized avoiding baths and wiping front to back (important, but I don’t think this was the cause of my frequent infections). I’ve used these techniques before, but not because a medical professional recommended them.

  • Carson McCrullers

    This is too real today. I’m pretty sure I am experiencing the early stages of a kidney infection right now (why does my side hurt? Why is it radiating into my leg when I walk/am I dying? At what point do I go to urgent care?) and now I know it’s probably because I pee too much.

    • Nia

      If you think you might have a kidney infection please see a doctor ASAP!

      • Chelsea Adilia Rojas

        I second this! They can be very serious. I waited too long myself when experiencing what ended up being a kidney infection and ended up paralyzed from pain for hours. It’s no joke! I have since abandoned my pee-holding ways.

  • Sarah

    after I went to the doctor several years ago scared I had Bladder cancer of something seriously wrong with me because I had started peeing 10+ times before I actually could fall asleep last night, I was told that anxiety can manifest itself in different ways in different people, and my way is a spasming bladder. Lucky me. Any time I get super stressed or have a lot going, my spasming bladder comes knocking!

    • Ana

      You’re not alone! I’ve got the same thing! It’s especially frustrating when I’m in a situation where I know there is no option of going to the bathroom (long bus ride or something). The thought makes me nervous so that I then immediately have to pee. ugh.

      • Sarah

        interesting. My symptoms are pretty contained to at night, before I go to bed. I probably pee way more than an average person during the day, but not 10+ times in a row like I do at night!

  • I shouldn’t have read this in class. Dying.

  • Sara Prestley

    Ahh this problem is near and dear to my heart! Thanks for the tips 🙂 A lot of bladder issues can be caused by “pelvic floor dysfunction” which is way more common that I realized. It’s because the pelvic floor is one of our primary “stress containers” and it’s hard to tell you are keeping that area tense until you’re made aware of it. I find hip opening exercises/yoga help immensely with this! There is also pelvic floor physio which is not at all pleasant…

  • Hannah Cole

    I can’t help that tea goes straight through me…

    • Aimee Wang

      is there a thing as drinking hot water/tea makes you pee more?

      • Hannah Cole

        someone srsly needs to investigate – I believe in that theory wholeheartedly

        • cryptdang

          Caffeine is a diuretic. I have a hypothesis that even drinking non-caffeinated tea makes me need to pee because I’m drinking it all at once (or at least faster than I normally would sip a glass of water).

  • emmsy

    Shit, I’m the opposite. I’m always the one that stays in the car when everyone else goes to the washroom during a road trip. Now I’m worried.

  • Annemarie

    Pelvic floor physio here 🙋🏻 So glad this is making it on MR! I see so many women our age who have the exact same problem, and there’s a lot that you can do to address it. I’m sorry someone had a bad experience at physio, I know I try really hard to make it as (relatively) not weird as possible 😬
    Honestly the most helpful hint for people when I first meet them is to learn how to “defer urge.” Basically, mind over matter to lengthen the intervals between times that you pee. And, if you don’t have to go when you pass that Starbucks, don’t go! That will help stretch your bladder out to accommodate more urine. You also might need to learn how to pee “properly” while relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and not “pushing.” On the flip side, if you go only twice a day, you need to empty more frequently to shrink your bladder.

    P.S. Credé isn’t really taught anymore because you can give yourself a bladder prolapse from too much of it. Only time I’ve seen it used is in spinal cord injury.

    • Sarah

      so, there is a type of doctor that actually specializes in this?

      • Annemarie L.

        Yes! I have a doctorate in physical therapy first, so I can treat ankles, knees, etc, but then I specialized in women’s health with postgraduate training to work with pelvic pain, incontinence, pregnancy, etc. So, I apply the same principles of PT to the neuromuscular systems of your pelvic floor muscles. There are not many of us though, maybe 500 in the country who have any of the required training.

        • Sarah

          that is a very cool specialization:) thank you for the info. where are you located? hehe i wish I could come see you. my problem seems to be bladder spasms which occur at night – I was told a few years ago when I was going through some personal things and it started happening that it was anxiety related. Sometimes I will get ready to go to bed and then have to get up to pee 10-15 times. It does seem to be tied to stress- right now I have a lot going on, so I am having a lot of issues with it. Wondering if there is any way to train it away as you say the bladder is super trainable!? I am not sure if its related, but I am hypermobile and have a lot of issues with my pelvis tilting/shifting that results in hip pain that I have been in physical therapy for over the years. I wonder if that could also make the bladder spasm problem worse? Thanks so much for any info.

          • Annemarie L.

            I think we have to have a private convo about this – I have a lot of ideas for you but don’t need to put them up here. I’m at Miracle PT in San Francisco – look me up and feel free to email directly at the provided address!

    • Gabrielle

      thanks annemarie! I have had over-peeing probs for ever (including, er, not being able to find bathroom in time). as my mother once said, since urination isn’t a “sexy” medical problem to deal with, it’s too often ignored! IIRC my GP told me to do the opposite of what you’re advising… to go regularly, like, every half hour? this was a few years ago. I guess overconsumption of coffee (and periodically, alcohol) are strongly related to my peeing woes. Is it true that kegel exercises are good for the pees-too-often among us?

      • Annemarie L.

        It sounds like you were told to do “timed voiding” to help eliminate the episodes of urge urinary incontinence (UUI). If someone is leaking and has strong urge every 40 minutes, then a 30 min interval to pre-empt leaks is good. But, then you should lengthen the intervals every few days as soon as you’re able to without leaks in between. That advice was correct for someone with actual leaking, so you can regain control over your bladder, where as if you just go all the time, it may just be out of habit. If you’re going all the time because you’re afraid you’re going to leak, that’s good rationale for times voiding as well. You just have to lengthen the intervals when you can! The bladder is super trainable – just think about when you potty train a puppy or baby 🤗

  • Viivi

    I have been having this trouble a lot and especially during my sleeping time (I would wake up like three times a night) and linked to that I had many urinary infections. I went to a urologist who told me I retain my pee since I have a tight urethra. I went to a simple operation where they extended the opening to the urethra and I haven´t had any troubles since, neither the infections. So if it´s causing you too much trouble I recommend also seeing a specialist.

  • Amelia Diamond

    Just here to say that I pee so much

  • Rheanonn Perez

    omg can we do all do a collective experiment to see which method works best??? i alwaaaays have to pee so this article could be life changing for me!! thanks for doing the research, haley!

    i’m somewhat of a germaphobe so i REFUSE to sit on public toilets, i ALWAYS squat, even at people’s houses if i don’t know them very well. i wonder if this diminishes my ability to empty the tank :/

    frheak.net

  • Needed to hear this because I’m extremely self-aware when I go to pee a million times a day because I feel like my co-workers are silently judging me.
    xo http://www.stylefile.in

  • jennoski

    i probably pee 1-2x an hour but i also drink a ton of tea and water…let’s go with that?

  • Julia

    I pee every hour on the hour. For a while my friends were convinced I had diabetes. I just drink a lot of water while bored at work

  • Alex

    Ha! Can totally relate to this. I have always felt like I had to pee way more than was necessary. I’m now nearing the end of a pregnancy, and the problem is way worse. I will say, though, that double-voiding (which I’ve been doing, but didn’t realize was a thing) has definitely helped cut down how many trips I make!

  • ♠ gloria cook

    I can now related to team MR on a level I never thought we would. You. Guys. Rock.

  • Hellbetty666

    Fun fact – Princess Diana used to use the double voiding technique to avoid having to go to the loo during public events.

  • june

    Random and Weird fact: in an effort to make hydration a lifestyle habit I drink 2 liters of water in the morning while doing email before doing anything else. Takes between 1 and 2 hours. Discovered that if I drank it all before 9am, I peed what felt like a perfectly acceptable normal amount – zero annoyance, maybe every 2-3 hours or so. But if it took me til past 9am to finish the 2 ltrs, say 9:30 or 10am – I peed just about all day, like every 30 mins. I experimented many times after to see if it was just a fluke and no, it was precisely as described. Strange but true

  • Raphsters

    I have medical evidence! I had to have a full-bladder ultrasound, and halfway through the nurse said I needed to fully empty my bladder so she could do the next kind of scan. I peed my face off and felt so relieved, but when she held the wand back up to my stomach she said my bladder was still half full! It was such a weird realization: I pee too much because it doesn’t all come out.

  • Gina Fuchs

    This is SO. REAL. I went to see The Glass Menagerie recently. I had a large glass of sangria beforehand, naively assuming I’d be able to pee during the intermission or run out discreetly if I needed to. I used the bathroom 2 minutes before showtime- then, sat down, opened my program and saw the show was 2 hours and 5 minutes with no intermission. fuck no. The program also noted that ‘if you left your seat for any reason you would not be permitted to return.’ As a fellow sufferer of tiny bladder syndrome, this felt like a personal attack. It made me so anxious, I knew I would obsess over going to the bathroom for 80% of the show. Spoiler alert: I did.

    Around 10 minutes in the amount I had to pee became painful. I spent more time wiping sweat off my palms, adjusting my position and awkwardly unzipping my pants than I did giving my attention to Sally Fields or Madison Ferris (who was amazing). I considered peeing on the seat. I’m sorry, this was a REAL THOUGHT!!! It ruined everything.

    I refused to check the time until it became absolutely unbearable, at which point I was v much prepared to leave the show and ask for a stellar recap from my friend who I was with. Luckily that time came 5 minutes before the play ended at which point I absolutely ran to the bathroom like a monster.

    Point being, urinary frequency is such a real issue and this was v helpful!!!!

  • Giulia Bottaro

    Thank you so much. I realise I spend like a quarter of my day in the toilet/ thinking about going to the toilet/ wondering if all the water I’m drinking will send me to the toilet/ wondering if I should go to the toilet before I go to work and such

  • Kara Mort

    Just to let you all know- pelvic floor PT can help tremendously with this! Often times the pelvic floor muscles are too tight and can put pressure on the bladder. For more information check out our website: http://www.5pointpt.com.

  • Hannah Betts

    Okay: night peeing – discuss.

  • Meg S

    But… night peeing? I wake up every night to go pee. I don’t know why. It’s a mystery.