When you have to go, it can feel like you’re peeing in the bucket when you finally do.
But is that really true – how much urine can humans hold bladder really hold?
The human bladder can hold a fair amount of fluid: About 2.3 cups for the average woman and up to 2.9 cups for the average man Institute for Quality and Effectiveness in Healthcare.
That’s about 17 ounces (500 ml) for women and 23 ounces (700 ml) for men.
But while the bladder can hold that amount of fluid, it’s rarely really necessary to urinate that much. According to the same source, you begin to feel the urge to urinate when your bladder is about 0.8 cup to 1.5 cup (200 to 350 ml) full. In total, the kidneys produce an average of 7.2 cups (1.7 liters) of urine per day in an average adult.
Related: Why do some of us shiver when we pee?
In children over one year of age, the amount of urine the bladder holds can be estimated by the formula, according to Physiology, bladder (StatsPearl Publisher, 2022). Do the math: (age + 2) x 30 mL.
The urge to urinate occurs when the accumulation of urine strains the muscles of the bladder wall. This stretch seems to activate certain proteins in the muscle that respond to mechanical stimuli, such as touch and pressure. National Institutes of Health Research published in 2020 in the journal Nature. People who don’t have genes that guide these proteins often don’t feel the need to urinate or have difficulty starting to urinate, so they urinate less often than average.
Activating this muscle is a good reason to try to get to the restroom without too much delay. According to National Institute on AgingHolding in urine too often can strain the bladder muscles, making it difficult for the bladder to empty completely and increasing the risk of bladder infections.
Signals from the bladder muscles travel to the spinal cord via two nerves, the dorsal nerve and the hypogastric nerve, according to Physiology, Bladder. After giving birth, people can sometimes experience temporary neurological problems, which can reduce the sensation of going to the bathroom, according to the report. University of Michigan Health System.
In infants and children who are not potty trained, the sensation of bladder fullness stimulates relaxation of the muscle ring, or sphincter, that keeps the bladder sealed. As the pelvic muscles develop, so does conscious control over urination. Parasympathetic nerve systemresponsible for the unconscious “rest and digest” processes, encouraging urine output, while Sympathetic nervous systemthe same system that encourages a “fight, flight or freeze” response, which helps keep urine clear by relaxing the bladder wall and contracting the bladder neck leading to the urethra, according to Physiology, Bladder.
Sometimes the bladder muscles contract without resulting in a significant amount of urine. This involuntary contraction can cause a sudden, intense urge to urinate, known as overactive bladder. According to Mayo ClinicAn overactive bladder can have a number of underlying causes, from urinary tract infections to Diabetes Hormonal changes associated with menopause in women. Medications, dietary changes, and pelvic floor exercises are used to treat overactive bladder.
Originally published on Live Science
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