A Urologist Explains Why People Pee More Frequently in the Winter Months
In a new video on her channel, urologist, pelvic surgeon and YouTuber Dr. Rena Malik addresses the idea that we tend to need to pee more often when it’s cold than we do in the summer, and explores the scientific explanations for why this might happen.
She starts by setting a benchmark for what is an average amount of times to pee, stating that most people go to the bathroom less than eight times a day, and might wake up once at night to pee (a phenomenon known as nocturia), but any more frequently than this is rare and considered abnormal. Urinary frequency, urinary urgency (the sudden, pressing need to go) and repeated nocturia, on the other hand, are all symptoms of something called overactive bladder.
“People who have this condition may notice that their symptoms tend to get worse in winter months,” says Malik, who explains that this can occur for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, cold weather can cause muscles to tense up—that includes in the pelvic floor. “The tensing of these muscles can stimulate the bladder to feel like it needs to go more often, so it starts having more bladder spasms,” she says. There are animal studies, she continues, which have found that test subjects exposed to cold weather had more bladder contractions than those that weren’t.
Another possible reason is that during the winter, we tend to sweat less, and so the body is losing less fluid via perspiration and, as a result, more via urination. Finally, Malik says, exposure to cold can trigger a “fight or flight” reaction from the body’s nervous system, leading to contraction of prostate muscles in men. This makes it more difficult to completely empty the bladder while urinating, meaning you then need to pee more frequently.
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