Why Peeing Just In Case May Not Be A Good Thing

Just like "everybody poops," everybody pees. It's natural, we all do it, and some of us do it more than others. According to HuffPost, experts say a "healthy" or "regular" amount to go pee is six to eight times a day (24 hours). And Marcelino Rivera, an assistant professor of urology with the Indiana University School of Medicine, said that the best way to gauge how much you should go is by listening to your body. "Use the bathroom as frequently as your body tells you to go," he said.

However, having a "small" bladder can kind of suck. You seemingly always feel like your body is saying, "Go now!" And because of this, you might have developed a habit of going pee for convenience. You want to make sure you're emptying your bladder "just in case" you have to go soon anyway. You don't feel the urge to pee, but you know there's some in there. This habit can come in handy in several situations, such as right before a movie or when you've stopped at a store for a quick errand. Even people who don't frequently pee do this because they have time now to pee and don't want to go later when they might not.

However, even though this habit may seem like a good idea because then you get peeing out of the way, if you do it too often, it can actually train your brain to make your frequent bathroom trips even worse.

There are different levels to feeling like you have to pee

Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas, a pelvic floor therapist from Boston, made a TikTok about peeing that went viral. She said that trying to go pee whenever you can, even if you don't feel an urge, isn't good for you. She said that she works with "people with overactive bladders, stress incontinence, urge incontinence," and more, so she knows her stuff. Dr. Jeffrey-Thomas first explains that there are three levels to feeling like you have to urinate with a fun diagram. The first level is "just an awareness level that tells you that there's some urine in the bladder," she said. The next is a bit higher up, and this level "tells you to make a plan to use the toilet." The final one with barely any room left in the bladder diagram is the "panic button" urge to pee, where you have to head to a toilet or you're going to have an accident on your hands.

The issue with going pee "just in case" is that if you do it too often, it'll trick the brain into moving the second level down. This means that the second "make a plan to pee" level urge will start happening when you have less urine in the bladder. Dr. Jeffrey-Thomas explained that doing this "compresses those three levels together," meaning that your brain will hit the final "panic button" level way sooner and will result in frequent peeing.

Peeing just in case can make your bladder worse

But why would the habit of going pee all the time for timely reasons impact how your brain senses the amount of urine in your bladder? Just like most bodily functions, the nervous system (aka run by your brain) controls everything you do. This is why you can Pavlov Dogs-yourself into peeing when water is running or why you might get nervous poops.

Lauren E. Stewart, MD, an ob-gyn and assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told SELF that "the bladder is a very trainable organ." "The connection between the brain and the bladder — how and when and why the bladder sends its 'I'm full' signal to the brain — is complicated," she said. Just like Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas said on TikTok, Dr. Stewart warned that if you pee just to pee for long enough, you'll mess up the signals to your brain on when your bladder is actually full. "You'll be urinating more frequently since your bladder thinks it cannot hold as much," Dr. Stewart said.

You don't want to hold it too much for too long, either. Marcelino Rivera, an assistant professor of urology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, told HuffPost that the bladder is a muscle that can become "overstretched," making it injured and unable to "squeeze as well." So while you're training your bladder to decompress those urge signals, make sure not to overdo it to stay healthy.