Remember when your parents would tell you, “Go pee, just in case?” Well, it turns out that using the bathroom when you don’t actually need to go is bad for your bladder!
We all experience the occasional urge to relieve ourselves, whether it's a full bladder or a sudden need to use the bathroom. However, some individuals have developed a habit of preemptively going to the bathroom "just in case," even when they don't feel the immediate need to do so. While this behavior may seem harmless, it can have unintended consequences on our pelvic health.
Heading to the toilet when you don’t need to pee can cause bladder problems down the line, such as increased urges to urinate and frequent urination– both of which are symptoms associated with urinary incontinence (UI).
What Happens When You Pee When Your Bladder Isn't Full
Your bladder muscles don’t contract correctly. When your bladder stretches to about the half full point, your bladder sends signals to the brain, and the brain sends a message back that tells your bladder to contract and your sphincter to relax, allowing you to pee with ease. Peeing when your bladder is not full means these messages are never sent, so your organs won’t function properly.
You force urine to come out (because your bladder isn’t contracting), weakening your pelvic floor muscles.
The bladder is being trained to empty at smaller volumes.
You decrease the amount of pee your bladder can hold.
Here's How You'll Be Affected
You’ll feel the urgent need to pee even when your bladder is only slightly full.
You’ll take more trips to the bathroom (only now, you’ll actually have the “gotta go” feeling beforehand).
You might leak urine if you can’t get to the bathroom in time. The pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in supporting the bladder and maintaining continence. Frequent unnecessary urination can weaken these muscles over time, potentially resulting in pelvic floor dysfunction, which manifests as urinary leakage, urinary urgency, or difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
You may wake up at night to pee.
The Right Way to Go & How to Help Incontinence Symptoms
Everyone’s bladder is unique, but the proper way to pee is as simple as listening to your body’s signals! Use the following guidelines to keep your bladder healthy.
Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.
Don’t hold your urine (this can stretch your bladder).
Don’t pee before you actually need to.
Try bathroom retraining. To do this, delay peeing by 5 minutes when you feel the urge to go. Then, extend that by another 5 minutes and continue this pattern until you can hold your urine for longer periods.
Aim to use the bathroom every 2-3 hours while remembering to listen to your body (timed voiding).
Contract your pelvic floor muscles by giving them a quick squeeze; This will let your brain know you're not ready to empty your bladder yet.
Note if you’re peeing more than 8 times in 24 hours, as this could indicate Overactive Bladder Syndrome.
See a pelvic floor physiotherapist about incontinence symptoms and to help you retrain your bladder.
Give yourself enough time in the bathroom.
Don’t push urine out; relax and let it flow naturally.
Empty your bladder completely to prevent overflow incontinence.
Parents- let your kids use the bathroom when they need to rather than telling them to go “Just in case!”
Peeing "just in case" may seem like a harmless habit, but it can have a significant impact on our pelvic health. By seeking the expertise of a pelvic health physiotherapist, individuals can gain valuable insights into maintaining proper bladder function, learn exercises to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, and receive personalized guidance on healthy bathroom habits. By breaking the cycle of unnecessary urination and addressing any existing pelvic floor dysfunctions, we can promote optimal pelvic health and regain control over our bladder function.