Picture the scene: You’re lying in bed with one leg wrapped around your duvet, experiencing peak comfort. Suddenly, the thought comes creeping into your head, “What if I actually need a wee right now?” You shake it off, try to trick your body into sleep before the urge reappears. To no avail, you’re soon trudging to the toilet for a ‘just-in-case’ wee and – if my experience serves me correct – it won’t be the last of the night.
After 16 months of working from home, we’ve got into the habit of indulging our bladder every time we feel the slightest urge to go for a wee. Three-hour meeting? No problem. We slyly nip our camera off and do what we need to do. But as we gradually return to the office, it’s time to gently remind our bladders whose boss.
We may think we’re being ultra-savvy when we sneak a ‘just-in-case’ wee ahead of a long meeting or journey, but is forcing ourselves to wee when we don’t actually need it really a good idea? Probably not.
How many times you should urinate a day will surprise you (especially if you’re planning on returning to the office anytime soon)
At least that’s what one TikToker thinks. Sabrina Baxter or @nosuchthingastmi, a pelvic floor therapist, went viral earlier this year for explaining exactly why we need to stop those ‘just-in-case’ wees.
In order to see this embed, you must give consent to Targeting cookies. Open my cookie preferences.
In the TikTok, Sabrina said, “Let’s talk what happens when you pee just in case. Like when you’re about to leave the house and you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I have to pee… But I may have to pee… So I’m gonna go pee.’
“If you do this often – once in a while no big deal – your bladder’s never filling up properly. It’s not filling to full capacity, you’re peeing when it’s halfway full.
“So you may have the urge to pee more frequently because it’s only filling halfway and it’s going ‘Ding, ding, ding – I have to go pee right now.’
“You’re essentially sensitising your bladder at lower volumes than needed. And then your body becomes used to that […] So this is when we have to retrain your bladder.”
This is how much water you should drink every day (and it’s more than we thought)
GLAMOUR spoke to Aleece Fosnight, a Medical Advisor at Aeroflow Urology, to find out *exactly* what happens to your bladder when you adopt the ‘just-in-case’ mindset:
What happens to your bladder when you habitually urinate ‘just-in-case’?
To start, it’s important to let your bladder function normally; meaning you should always listen to your bladder and go when you have to go.
Going to the bathroom ‘just-in-case’ will not cause any issues with your bladder, unless it becomes a daily action. In this situation, your bladder can shrink as it’s never filling up properly and you’ll get the urge to urinate more frequently. Not only can the bladder shrink, limiting the actual bladder volume capacity, but you are training the nerves to your bladder to think that you “need” to urinate more frequently. This can cause a snowball effect – the more frequently you go, the more your bladder ‘thinks’ it needs to go – leading you to feel the urge to void more often, even when your bladder isn’t full.
Women who suffer from urinary incontinence are more likely to go to the bathroom when they don’t need to, which can negatively reduce their bladder capacity even more.
Going to the bathroom ‘just-in-case’ will not cause any issues with your bladder, unless it becomes a daily action.
This is what your urine reveals about your health (and it’s fascinating)
Is it safe to train your bladder to hold in more urine?
For those that already have a hard time controlling their bladder due to incontinence or a weakened pelvic floor, doctors may sometimes recommend bladder retraining, which is a form of behavioural therapy that can help someone regain control over when they urinate. Through this process, people are gradually able to hold in their urine for longer periods of time, reducing how frequently they’ll need to go to the bathroom. Bladder training results will also not be instant and can take up to 12 weeks to be successful.
With this said, not everyone should be practicing bladder retraining. It is typically used to treat patients which already suffer from urinary incontinence which can be common after childbirth and menopause. It’s important to be open with your doctor about your urinary patterns in order to determine if bladder training is right for you.
For more from Glamour UK’s Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.
19 best water bottles so you can be sustainable while you stay hydrated