Do you “just in case” pee every time you leave the house? Keep reading to find out why it might not be such a good thing and how you can fix this habit.
What is urinary frequency??
Urinary frequency is when you urinate more often than normal during the day. Five to eight times a day is accepted as normal so if you’re going more than that you have increased frequency of urination.
Why do some people go frequently? Frequent urination could be due to medical conditions, medications, or muscular dysfunction and those need to be assessed and addressed differently than “just in case” voiding. What I’m really talking about is when you go to the bathroom without an urge, “just in case.” You’re preparing for something and peeing is part of that preparation. It could be a habit. Has your mom ever told you to go just in case? We’ve all heard “I don’t care if you have to go, just try.” Sometimes this can be really valuable if you are getting in the car for the next four hours, or getting on a plane and you don’t know when you’re gonna be able to get to the bathroom. Just in case voiding could also be to prevent leaking. Many women feel that if they go before their bladder is full they’ll have less leaking and often this can be a successful cheat. Ideally we would fix the leaking and not have to pee frequently or leak.
When “just in case” voiding becomes a problem is when you go to the bathroom every time you leave the house, even if it’s a short trip or you don’t have to pee at all, or you just peed 30 minutes ago. You should be able to walk past a bathroom without having to pee. But we all know those women - maybe it’s your mom, your grandma, a friend, or maybe it’s you.
You might think, “Well what’s wrong with going frequently so that I don’t leak?” I get that, I do. It’s way more comfortable to frequently go to the bathroom than it is to leak and have to change your pad, change your underwear, or be embarrassed that you leaked. But we could just address the issue of leaking and solve both problems.
Let’s come back to that in a minute and first talk about why you shouldn’t pee that frequently or when you don’t have the urge to urinate. In normal circumstances you should get the urge to urinate when your bladder is full, but when you’re “just in case” voiding your bladder never fills completely and you never or rarely get the urge to pee. Over time your bladder loses the ability to expand to hold a large, or even moderate, amount of urine. This can lead to what some people call “small bladder” and you will HAVE to pee more frequently because your bladder is full.
Another problem that can arise from frequent urination is pushing to pee. When you go frequently and you don’t have the urge then you may feel that you have to push to get something out and there’s pushing leads to disordered urination habits. Pushing to pee can lead to pain, prolapse, leaking, and further bladder dysfunction.
So now we know why “just in case” voiding isn’t good for our bladder. How do we treat it? Well, we figure out the cause. If it’s fear of leaking we treat the leaking. If it's a habit then we slowly increase the amount of time between bathroom trips. Neither of these will happen overnight but with the correct guidance we should be able to get back onto a normal urination frequency of every 3 to 4 hours.
And really who wants to pee 10, 12, 15 times a day? Wouldn’t you rather only go when your bladder is full and not worry about leaking?