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How Often Should You Pee?

Hi friends! Have you ever paid attention to how often you go to the bathroom to pee? Do you pee twice a day, twice an hour, or somewhere in between? Do you know how often you should go to the bathroom to go pee?


The normal time frame between trips to the bathroom should be once every two to four hours for most individuals. That’s because that’s about the time it takes for our kidneys to create enough pee to fill our bladders.

The normal bladder can hold 400-600 cc (1.69-2.5 cups) of urine. The kidneys can send anywhere from 1-14 ml of urine to the bladder each minute, which is about .25 cups to 3.5 cups of pee per hour (Haylen, 2010). Several factors can impact the rate that our kidneys make pee. What and how much we drink, body weight, environmental conditions, activity level, certain medical conditions like diabetes, or taking certain medications like a water pill will all impact how much urine your produce and therefore how often you need to pee.


In a bladder that is functioning normally, the first sensation of the need to pee happens when the bladder is only 40% full (Fowler, 2008). That means the bladder can continue to fill up 60% more! Once the bladder gets to be 90% full, it is hard to distract yourself from the urge (Fowler, 2008). The desire to pee is intensified with anxiety, including the anxiety of leakage or not being able to find a restroom (Fowler, 2008). However, we can use distraction to help decrease awareness of the bladder sensation (Fowler, 2008).


If you’re going to the bathroom to pee often and your bladder isn’t full (typically less than every 2 hours), over time your bladder will start to think it’s full when it really isn’t. Overtime, this causes you to need to go to the bathroom more frequently and can lead to other issues like overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence. If you are going to the bathroom multiple times every hour you will likely not be able to start going every two hours tomorrow. Techniques like filling out a bladder diary, timed voiding, and using urge delay techniques can help you slowly retrain your bladder to stretch and fill properly.

Overfilling our bladder and only going pee once or twice a day can over stretch the muscle on the outside called the detrusor. This is common in professions like nursing and teaching, where there aren’t many opportunities to go to the bathroom. Overtime, this over stretching makes it harder for that muscle to squeeze well to empty our bladder leading to urinary retention. With urinary retention, we often have to use catheters to help empty our bladder.

Talk with your healthcare providers about any concerns you may have and whether or not the amount of times your peeing is normal for you. If you find you are either going too often or not enough, seeing a pelvic floor therapist can help get you back on track. A pelvic floor therapist is specially trained to address bladder and pelvic floor dysfunction as well as any bowel issues. Bowel issues, especially constipation, can contribute to urinary symptoms. Ask your provider for a referral to a pelvic floor therapist near you, or find one at www.mypfm.com/find-a-pt.


To learn more about your pelvic floor muscles, check out these great resources:


For providers, join our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!

  • Treatments for OAB with Dr. Sarah Boyles, MD, MPH, FACOG, FPMRS

  • Urinary Incontinence and Urogynecology with Dr. Tessa Krantz, MD

  • Nocturnal Enuresis with Dr. Charley Peterson, PT, DPT


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.

  2. Haylen BT et al. An International Urogynecological Association (IUGA)/International Continence Society (ICS) joint report on the terminology for female pelvic floor dysfunction. Neurourol Urodyn. 2010;29(1):4-20.

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