The Truth About Urine (cont.)

The opposite problem -- not going to the bathroom enough -- can occur when there isa blockage or infection. Or, it can be the result of bad bathroom habits. Some people -- especially teachers, surgeons, and anyone else who doesn't have time for regular bathroom breaks throughout the day -- tend to hold it in.

Delaying urination can be problematic, says Smith, who compares the bladder to a Slinky: It stretches and then contracts repeatedly, but eventually it can stretch too much to bounce back. "The bladder can develop a chronic overdistensiona chronic emptying problem," he says.

Developing Healthy Bathroom Habits

Take good care of your bladder, and it will thank you by helping you urinate regularly. To avoid having to make too many bathroom visits, stay hydrated, but not overhydrated. Drink whenever you're thirsty, but don't feel as though you have to adhere to the eight-glasses-a-day recommendation (unless you have kidney or bladder stones, in which case you'll need to increase your fluid intake).

If you're getting up during the night to use the bathroom, stop drinking three to four hours before bedtime. Limit caffeine, which can irritate the lining of the bladder. Also watch your intake of alcohol, which can have similar effects.

Finally, don't hold it in. As soon as you feel the urge to go, excuse yourself from whatever you're doing and find a bathroom.


Tomas Griebling, MD, MPH, vice chair, urology department, University of Kansas.

Anthony Smith, MD, professor and chief of urology, University of New Mexico.

Terris, Martha K. "The Significance of Abnormal Urine Color."

Kreder, K. The Overactive Bladder: Evaluation and Management. Informa UK; 2007: p 92.

Reviewed on January 19, 2010

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Last Editorial Review: 1/19/2010 11:17:34 AM