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How Often Should I Go Pee?

Hello friends! November is National Bladder Health Month. To celebrate, we are going to talk about taking trips to the bathroom. Who is in charge of your trips to the bathroom—you or your bladder? Do you head to the bathroom a few times each hour? Or maybe you only head to the bathroom once a day because you don’t have time to go? Both of these situations can lead to problems with your bladder.


Ideally, you should be going to the bathroom to urinate every 2-4 hours. However, there are many factors that contribute to this. It is best to discuss with your provider based on your individual circumstances.


What happens if you are going to the bathroom too often?

Normally, the bladder fills to about 40% before we get our first sensation that we need to go to the bathroom (Fowler, 2006). We get this sensation because the bladder muscle starts to contract. Over time, our habits can teach our bladder to contract sooner (or later). If we are going to the bathroom frequently, our bladder can begin to tell us it is ready to empty (pee) before it is full because it thinks that is what we want it to do. As we do this frequently over time, this can keep us going to the bathroom more often and even lead to urge urinary incontinence (sometimes called overactive bladder or OAB).


In addition to these habits that can be formed, there are other things that can affect your bladder and how often you have to go.


If the urine in your bladder is acidic, your bladder will want to get the urine out. This can happen if you consume certain bladder irritants or if you are dehydrated. There is a common misunderstanding that drinking less will decrease the number of times you need to go to the bathroom, but this can actually make you feel a stronger urge and need to go to the bathroom more often!



Some diseases like diabetes, constipation, or an enlarged prostate can cause you to need to urinate more often. Medications can impact your kidneys (that make urine) or your bladder and cause you to go more often. One of the most common medications that causes you to need to pee more is a diuretic, also known as a “water pill.”


Tips to Manage Frequent Trips to the Bathroom

  • Avoid going “just in case”

  • Use urge suppression techniques

  • Use a timed voiding strategy

  • Stay hydrated

  • Don’t rush—no straining to be and allow enough time for full bladder emptying

  • Avoid bladder irritants

It’s important to talk with your providers about any changes in urination with your provider as this could be a sign of underlying medical conditions like a urinary tract infection (UTI).



What happens if you aren’t going to the bathroom enough?

Maybe you aren’t going to the bathroom often because of access to a toilet or the type of job you have.


Your bladder is made to store urine and stretch. As it stretches, it sends messages to your brain that it’s time to go. As it fills up more, the messages get more urgent. However, it is possible to overstretch your bladder. If that happens, you may not feel the urge to go when it is time.


When we don’t feel the urge to go, we often strain when peeing. When we strain, the puts extra pressure on our pelvic floor muscles and can cause them to not work properly leading to pelvic floor dysfunction, prolapse, and pelvic pain.


Tips to Manage Infrequent Trips to the Bathroom

  • Use a timed voiding strategy

  • Practice pelvic floor muscle relaxation

  • Don’t strain or Kegel while you pee


Here are some great resources to help you manage urinary symptoms:

  • Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a pelvic therapist to help you exercise safely and to prevent any pelvic floor symptoms.

  • Find a pelvic therapist on your own at myPFM.com. We have links to 4 free searchable databases under Find a PT.

  • Watch our YouTube playlist on Bladder Concerns and Your Pelvic Floor

  • Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics

  • Sign up for our email newsletter!

  • Visit our Amazon store for our favorite pelvic health products


For providers, check our online courses to help your clients with urinary frequency and incontinence. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!


Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT

References

1. Fowler CJ, Griffiths D, de Groat WC. The neural control of micturition. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008;9(6):453-466.




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