We’ve all done a quick “just in case” wee before heading out or because we’re passing the bathroom. If you’re a parent, you might have also told the kids to “do a wee now so we don’t have to find a toilet later”.
Doing a “just in case” wee isn’t a problem if it’s just occasional and if you have normal bladder function.
But doing it too often, making a lifetime habit of it, can kick off a vicious cycle. You can end up training your bladder to “think” it needs to go when it’s only slightly full. And the problem can worsen over time.
Watch Some of Our Favourite Celebrities on Parenting. Post continues after video.
If you’re always ducking to the loo to wee at even the slightest tingling sensation, have a go at resisting that first urge — and consider seeing your GP or a pelvic floor physiotherapist about it.
Your bladder can probably hold more than you think.
Most bladders are actually capable of holding quite a lot of fluid.
For those with normal bladders (that is, you haven’t been diagnosed as having an overactive or irritable bladder), every day capacity is between 400–600mls. It should take about two hours for the water you drink to make its way to the bladder.
So if you drink a 600ml bottle of water, it would be perfectly reasonable not to actually need to go to the toilet until a couple of hours later. In reality, however, I know of people who say they drink just a small amount and head off to the bathroom shortly after.
What happens if you get into the ‘just in case’ habit?
To pass urine easily, we need the bladder muscle to contract and the muscles around the urethra and pelvic floor to relax.
This nice, coordinated pattern does not occur nearly as well if there is no real urge to void. You’ll probably be able to squeeze some urine out, but it’s not how the muscles are supposed to work.
The bladder’s response is to spasm and contract more aggressively and inappropriately.
The bladder gets used to holding a certain amount and if you are always emptying at that amount, it gets harder to hold more. The bladder “thinks” it is at capacity, when it is not. You end up with a pattern of uncoordinated emptying.