All of us can relate to the embarrassing situation of having an urgent need to pee during or after swimming. But most of us were too embarrassed to even talk about it or discuss it with the doctor. Well first of all, it is completely NORMAL for this to happen and there is a legitimate medical reason behind it. If you’re worried that your bladder is problematic then read on and find out the science behind this and what you can do about it.
Your Bladder Has Done Nothing Wrong
First off, it’s not your fault. The reason why this happens has nothing to do with you. It all depends on the water’s temperature. The colder the water, the higher diuresis ( a medical term for increased urination) for you. What happens is called ‘cold immersion diuresis’.
The Science Behind This
This is basically a step-by-step breakdown of what happens.
1. The cold water leaches the heat of the blood vessels that lie near the skin surface.
2. The blood vessels constrict, and hence there is decreased flow of blood in the body’s extremities in a bid to conserve heat.
3. This prompts a quick increase in blood pressure.
4. The body responds to this by compensating for the increased arterial blood pressure by relieving itself of liquid.
5. The quickest and easiest way for your body to do this is to pee.
As a result, it can get uncomfortable for most people. Without practice, some may even find it impossible to urinate in the cold water. Others, when they leave the water, feel the need to urinate has increased a hundredfold as the muscles of the body are finally allowed to relax.
What Happens In A Swimming Pool
This phenomenon is not just related to cold water. Most of us have faced this in public or private swimming pools because pool water although warmer than the sea is still way cold than the normal human temperature. Plus,when you leave a warm pool to go to a cooler place like the changing area or the shower, you may feel sudden goose-pimples on your skin and an overwhelming desire to pee, for the same reason outlined above.
What Should You Worry About
There is a major consequence to this and that’s dehydration. What happens with marathon swimmers who are crossing the English Channel for instance, is that their food consists of liquid carbohydrates. Generally, your body needs one litre of water per hour, and as a result of this ‘cold immersion diuresis’, the liquid that is processed by the kidney instead of returning to the body is stored in the bladder. Furthermore the cold suppresses the production of vasopressin hormone or ADH which in turn is supposed to suppress diuresis. The swimmer is forced to urinate more and the body requires more water to make up for the mild dehydration.
So if you have an urgent urge to pee during or after swimming, realize that what happens is a natural bodily response and that there’s nothing wrong with you. In order to ensure optimum performance, adequate hydration is a must. Try to consume beverages that have water, glucose and electrolytes in them. Share this information with your friends and placate their doubts too!
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com