Whitney Russell
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Why You Shouldn’t Hold Your Pee on Road Trips

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bathroom restroom need to pee
Bathroom breaks are essential on long road trips to help boost your bladder’s health
Photo: Andre Buhrer via Pixabay

The average adult bladder can hold up to 16 ounces of urine — but it’s not always healthy to delay bathroom breaks just to get to your destination a bit faster. Here are some of the reasons why it’s important to relieve your bladder at regular intervals (and some helpful tips on minimizing bathroom breaks on long journeys).

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Reasons not to hold it

“Bodily functions are supposed to be let out, and holding them in can cause infections or serious health issues,” said family medicine provider Susan A. Werner, M.D. According to Geisinger Health, holding your pee for a long time can weaken your bladder muscles. It also increases your risk of urinary tract infections, due to bacteria accumulation, and kidney disease. In some (extremely) rare cases, habitually holding your pee for extended periods of time can cause your bladder to rupture, which can be a fatal condition.

Healthier ways to minimize bathroom breaks on road trips

Road Trip in a Chevrolet
Limit drinks right before you begin a road trip…and try to pace your liquid intake during it to minimize bathroom breaks

Per Healthline, most doctors recommend going to the bathroom every three to four hours. So, if you’re planning a long road trip, schedule pitstops at least that frequently.

Here are some other tips to help reduce the number of times you need to stop for a bathroom break en route to your destination.

  • Limit the amount of liquid you drink and refrain from drinking anything approximately 1.5-2 hours before you start a road trip. Instead, bring along drinks you can enjoy after you’ve been on the road for a while.
  • Practice pelvic floor exercises, like Kegels, to increase your body’s ability to hold in your pee when you have to (i.e. when you’re traveling in remote areas where there’s no rest stops or fast food joints to stop at).
  • Invest in a portable pee urinal that you store under the seat in your vehicle. It’s a great option if you regularly travel long distances with youngsters that are still potty training. Travel John Jr. disposable urinal bags are one helpful solution.

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