Should you pee ‘just in case’ before you leave the house? Maybe not

A TikToker advised people to stop peeing “just in case,” and now people are wondering if it’s good advice

Sabrina Baxter is a physical therapy student (who’ll officially be a physical therapist in May 2021) and a self-professed lover of pelvic health. On TikTok, Baxter explained why you should only pee when you really have to go in a video that’s since gone viral. But does her claim have any merit? 

Why you should stop peeing ‘just in case,’ according to Baxter

“When you’re about to leave the house and you’re like, ‘I don’t have to pee but I may have to pee so I’m gonna go pee’ … if you do this often, your bladder is never filling up properly,” Baxter said. “It’s not filling to full capacity. You’re peeing when it’s halfway full. So you may have the urge to pee more frequently because it’s only filling halfway. […] You’re essentially sensitizing your body to work at lower volumes than needed.”

Baxter’s video received over 1.2 million views. However, many people were unsure about her advice.

“So my bladder is the same as my phone battery,” someone commented

“Makes sense but I will not be doing this,” another wrote

“I always hold it til I can’t anymore,” a third user said.

Is it true that peeing too frequently ‘just in case’ will mess up your bladder? 

BuzzFeed news consulted Heather Jeffcoat, a doctor of physical therapy, and it turns out Baxter is a great student — because she was totally right. 

“One of the first things we learn in pelvic health physical therapy education is to educate our patients to not urinate ‘just in case,'” Jeffcoat told BuzzFeed.

According to Dr. Fei Zang, PT, a pelvic floor therapist, habitually peeing “just in case” trains the stretch receptors located in your bladder walls to signal to your brain that you need to urinate when your bladder isn’t actually full. The more you empty your bladder when it isn’t full, the more frequent these urges become.

Jeffcoat added that the behavior could cause urinary leakage.

“When the neurologic connection between the bladder and the pelvic floor becomes dysfunctional, instead of the pelvic floor contracting to maintain continence, they relax and the bladder contracts in a setting where it is not appropriate to do so, and urinary leakage may result,” she said. 

She recommended peeing around every two to three hours. A great way to see if your bladder is healthy is if you can sleep six hours straight without it waking you up. Jeffcoat also said hovering over the toilet can cause issues for cisgender women since it prevents the pelvic floor muscle from fully relaxing.

“Before a long car ride, before bed or after sex is okay! The problem is that peeing ‘just in case’ regularly is what trains your bladder and your nervous system over time. So, don’t be afraid to go ‘just in case,’ but be aware that you don’t want it to become a habit,” Jeffcoat said.

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