An expert has explained exactly why ‘just in case’ trips to the bathroom are dangerous.
Every once in a while, a preventative pee before a long car ride is harmless.
But if you find yourself making these trips during a normal day — before eating, popping into the store, or watching a show — that could be a problem.
Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas, who describes herself as “TikTok’s pelvic floor PT,” explained why in a video that has been viewed nearly four million times.
She says: “[I’m a] pelvic floor physiotherapist, so I work with a lot of people with overactive bladder, stress incontinence, urge incontinence, etc.
“And here’s why you shouldn’t go just in case…”
Dr. Alicia, who works at Greater Boston Urology, drew a bladder on a piece of paper.
It had three lines to show “three levels of filling sensation”.
When the bladder contains some urine, at the lowest level, it “tells you that there is urine in the bladder”.
The second middle level tells you to “make a plan for going to the bathroom”.
And the third level, the “panic button”, represents when your bladder is full and tells your brain to urgently go to the bathroom.
Dr Alicia said that if you go to the bathroom “just in case”, your bladder is usually between the first and second level of fullness – before you naturally feel the urge to go.
If you urinate regularly before the bladder is even half full, it learns to signal the need to go when less volume is present.
“If we do this all the time… our bladder starts getting these data points and says maybe we should be sending this signal sooner,” Dr. Alicia said.
“Now we’re going to start feeling this urge to leave a lot earlier than before.
“Over time, it compresses those three levels together, and so the difference between feeling like there’s urine in your bladder and feeling that panic button like you’re going to pee your pants, goes happen in a much shorter time.”
Fortunately, if you enter this cycle, it does not mean that the bladder is damaged.
But that means you’ll have to use the toilet more often and more urgently. The constant need to go to the bathroom can make daily activities more difficult.
Bladder training can help reverse this habit and help you wait longer between bathroom trips.
It’s about delaying using the toilet when you feel the urge to go, very gradually from about five minutes to 15 minutes and more over time.
Pelvic floor exercises are also beneficial for strengthening the muscles that support the bladder, bowels (and vagina in women).
Dr Alicia said there were only three instances where she would advise using the toilet even if you don’t need it.
This was a car for trips longer than an hour, before bedtime, and before or after sex – urinating after sex helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.
New York Post