This is what happens to your body if you hold your pee in for too long

This is what happens to your body if you hold your pee in for too long

We've all been there before. Maybe you got stuck on the train on the way home from work, or underestimated how soon that large soda would hit your bladder while out at the cinema; either way - once you're in that situation, it very quickly becomes incredibly uncomfortable.

I'm talking, of course, about desperately needing to pee.

Yes, even as adults with decades of experience in using the bathroom, pretty much all of us still get caught short every now and then, usually to no fault of our own. Thankfully, our bladders are strong enough to deal with the strain for as long as it takes to reach the nearest bathroom (or, at least, they are most of the time) - but it's still not good for us to rely on them to such an extreme all the time.

In fact, waiting for too long before urinating can cause some serious issues.

If you hold in your pee too frequently, you can stretch your bladder. This is not necessarily a terrible thing, as it means you have a greater capacity for storing urine. However, a side effect of this is that you may also stretch your external sphincter muscles - and that's much less desirable.

A stretched sphincter is essentially a less effective sphincter and, seeing as it is responsible for holding in your pee, long-term damage can mean that you're not as good at holding it in as you used to be.

And, once you reach that point, everything starts to spiral out of control a little bit.

Having less control can mean that your body will actually leak urine before it's full, and also fail to drain everything when it's time to take a trip to the bathroom. After a while, this means that you'll actually have to pee more frequently than someone who doesn't excessively hold in their urine.

Some people might even develop urinary retention - a condition in which the bladder holds on to too much urine for too long, providing an ample breeding ground for bacteria. In serious cases, this can lead to kidney failure and, at worst, death.

This is incredibly rare, however, as the natural urge to pee is often far stronger than the sphincter's ability to hold it all in.

Plus, before you go worrying about whether or not you're at risk of developing any kind of bladder/kidney-related issues based on your urinating habits, it's important to clarify that there's a big leeway for how often someone should pee every day. The "normal" rate is about six to eight times a day, but that'll go up if you drink excessively or take medications that have diuretic qualities.

The important thing to take away from this is that holding in your pee can be very dangerous, but it doesn't have to be. All you have to do to avoid long-term damage is answer the call of nature as early as possible, and make sure to keep your waterworks healthy by getting check-ups for health problems such as UTIs.