BY JADA GREEN, JULY
Ever think about what happens when you “break the seal” during a night of
Of course you’re going to get the urge to pee after you’ve thrown back a few
beers. But all it takes is one whiz to open up the floodgates, and before you
know it, you’re returning to the bar bathroom every 20 minutes.
The reason you can’t stop yourself after that first pee is because the relief of
urinating sends feel-good signals to your brain, says Judd W. Moul, M.D.,
F.A.C.S., Director of the Duke Prostate Center Division of Urologic Surgery.
As the night goes on, your brain essentially tells you, ‘Well, you peed a little
while ago, it felt good, and you should definitely do that again.’
To curb the frequent trips, you might try to hold in your pee. Bad move:
Ignoring a brimming bladder could do some serious damage, says Dr. Moul.
For proof, he shares one horror story from his days as a doctor in the Army.
“A young soldier came in who had gotten totally drunk the night before and
passed out,” Dr. Moul says. “His bladder was holding the equivalent of about
three bottles of wine and it became over distended, like a floppy bag.”
After that, the patient was never able to urinate normally again and had to
stick a catheter in his penis four to six times a day, Dr. Moul says.
That’s the worst-case scenario. Doing a fidgety dance for an hour or two on a
road trip won’t lead to any permanent damage like that, but fighting your body’s
urge to pee for long periods of time can indeed wreak havoc on your bladder,
says Joshua Meeks, M.D., Ph.D., a urologist for Northwestern Medicine.
If you hold it in to avoid public restrooms, for example, you could be more
likely to develop long-term urinary tract symptoms like frequent and painful
Breaking the seal doesn’t sound so bad now.