If you hold back your urine hard, can you really make your bladder explode?

I believe everyone must have heard the TV episodes of the supporting characters being pissed to death, but have you heard the jokes about being suffocated to death by urine? There was such a joke on the Internet: “A lady Jennifer Stricky participated in a ‘holding urine for WiFi’ radio event. It is said that she broke the Guinness World Record for the longest time to hold urine, but in the end she Holding back urine for too long leads to impaired bladder function and death.”

Although this is just a non-rigorous joke, the facts tell us that holding urine for a long time may not make the bladder explode, but it will damage the bladder, and this is a very bad As for why we say this, let’s first look at “how our body responds when we hold back urine”.

In addition to being uncomfortable, holding back can also make our bladders worse

Urinating is actually an unconditioned reflex. You can see the following path diagram for excretion of urine to make it easier for everyone to understand.

The kidneys (renal tubules, collecting ducts) produce urine and flow to the bladder. When the urine in the bladder accumulates to a certain amount, the bladder receptors send out signals. The central nervous system receives signals and feeds back to the cerebral cortex. Mediation produces the urge to urinate.

(Source: Physiology)

It’s a common thing to hold back your urine in a hurry, but you have to remember that if you hold back your urine for a long time, it’s not as simple as “holding back”.

holding back can thin the bladder wall

The bladder will be like a balloon with its air outlet blocked when holding urine, and the pressure on the inner wall will increase. In order to accommodate more urine, the bladder wall will also expand and change due to expansion. Thin.

You think this is the end? It’s too simple to think.

It also puts pressure on the surrounding “neighbors”

In the process of holding urine, it is not enough to increase the capacity, and it is necessary to prevent the urine from returning to the kidneys in the reverse direction. At this time, the sphincter at the junction of the urethra and the bladder plays a role, it is like a one-way The valve not only controls the flow of urine, but also strictly guards the stored urine in the inner urethra.

(Source: Systematic Anatomy)

It can be seen that it is not only the bladder wall that is under pressure, the water inlet above – the ureteral orifice, and the lower gate – the urethral sphincter are all under pressure, and it is not easy at all.

What are the health hazards of holding back urine?

1. Destruction of bladder elasticity

The bladder itself is actually a large piece of smooth muscle, composed of three layers of tissue, from the inside to the outside are the mucosa, the muscularis and the adventitia.

The good bladder contraction function depends on these three-layer structures. If the bladder is held back for a long time (more than ten years), the elasticity of the smooth muscle of the bladder will decrease, and the result is prone to urinary incontinence, or normal The urination physiological reflex is eventually disrupted.

(Source: Human Anatomy)

In layman’s terms, I can’t urinate when there is urine, and I always want to urinate when there is no urine, which is very embarrassing.

2. Induce infection

Urine remains in the bladder for too long, and if you are a patient with renal insufficiency, the chance of bacterial infection is greatly increased. Once the urine returns to the ureters and kidneys, the toxic substances in it can cause kidney infections, causing urinary tract infections, nephritis, and even uremia.

3. Affects renal function

If the bladder is always under high pressure, over time, the bladder contraction force will decrease, and in severe cases, it will cause the urine to flow back into the ureter and renal pelvis. If there are bacteria in the urine If so, this will not only lead to hydronephrosis, affecting renal function, but also easily lead to pyelonephritis.

4. Causes cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases

holding back urine fills the bladder and makes the sympathetic nerves too excited. At this time, blood pressure will rise and heartbeat will increase. If it is a patient with coronary heart disease, symptoms such as angina pectoris and arrhythmia will also appear. For middle-aged and elderly people who often suffer from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis, accidents can also be induced.

Also, holding back your urine for a long timeThe sudden forceful emptying of urine afterward will cause a sudden drop in intra-abdominal pressure, a reflex drop in blood pressure, temporary brain ischemia, and induce micturition syncope and other cardiovascular and cerebrovascular accidents.

5. Influencing Features

Women do not have 2 internal and external sphincter muscles like men, and only rely on a single sphincter to hold urine. Therefore, if the urine is held for a long time, the sphincter muscle will be fatigued and weak, resulting in urinary incontinence.

In addition, because the female uterus is located behind the bladder, after holding back urine, the bladder will be overfilled, which will compress the uterus, squeeze the nerves, cause lumbosacral pain, or dysmenorrhea-like pain, and in severe cases Can cause pain during sex.

With women out of the way, let’s talk about men.

(Photo source: Figure Worm Creative)

It’s good to hold back when you’re not holding back

If you have to ask if holding back urine is good for your physiology, there is only one I can think of: Kegel exercises similar to holding back urine (pelvic bone) sports).

This exercise mainly increases muscle tone by stretching the pubococcygeus muscle, and you can also understand “similar to holding the urine.”

Kegel exercise not only treats urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence, but also can be used for postpartum recovery for women, and for men to stimulate the genital area and increase blood flow to the genital area , to improve sexual function.

Other than that, holding back urine is almost always harmful.

If you don’t have to hold back, then don’t ask for hardships, such as eating and drinking before going to bed, urinating before a meeting, etc. There is a saying in the medical circle: “It’s cool to hold back the urine for a while, and the bladder crematorium.”

Editor: Dr. Chunyu


1. Sun Qinglian. Ten hazards of holding back urine [J]. Family Medicine, 2018, (8): 34-35.

2.FOWLER CJ, GRIFFITHS D, DE-GROAT WC. The neural control of micturition.[J]. Nature reviews neuroscience,2008,6(6):453-466.


3. Systematic Anatomy 8th Edition; People’s Medical Publishing House

4. Lin Min. Clinical application of Kegel exercises in postpartum urinary incontinence[J]. Contemporary Medicine, 2016,22(22):98-99.

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