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Why You Shouldn’t Push When You Pee

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You hear the baby crying upstairs and so you try to rush along your bathroom visit so you can go comfort her. You’re racing to your next meeting and you only have a minute to stop for the bathroom. You’re late for a doctor’s appointment but you just need that quick bathroom visit before you leave. Sometimes peeing is a necessary evil that gets in the way of our daily lives. 

But if you’re someone who is moving so fast that you push when you pee, you could be setting yourself up for some problems down the road. 

How the bladder works when we pee.

The bladder works best by relaxing the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles when you need to pee, so that the bladder muscles naturally allow the flow of urine to occur. You should not be actively pushing the urine out by bearing down or by tensing your pelvic floor muscles.  

Potential problems when you push.

  • You’ll start to create muscle confusion. Over time, if you’re constantly pushing out your pee when you should be just relaxing your muscles to allow urination to occur naturally, you’ll start to confuse your muscles. They’ll think that each time you pee, you should be activating the pelvic floor vs. relaxing it, creating more problems down the road. 
  • Hypertonic Pelvic Floor issues. If you already suffer from a hypertonic pelvic floor (a pelvic floor that is too tense), pushing out your pee could aggravate the muscles even more and lead to other conditions, like pain or overactive bladder.
  • You may develop a prolapse. Over time, consistent pushing when you pee (or poop) may cause your pelvic floor muscles to weaken, leading to pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where one of your pelvic organs (the bladder, uterus, or rectum) collapses into the vaginal canal.
  • You could develop, or worsen, hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside and outside the anus and rectum that can become very painful and cause bleeding. There are lots of causes for hemorrhoids, but straining while on the toilet can contribute to them.

Conditions that may be causing you to push when you pee.

If you feel like you have to push when you pee, there could be something else going on that you need to have treated.

In men, BPH, or benign prostate hyperplasia, can sometimes cause swelling to occur in the prostate, leading to a weak flow, or even trouble getting urination started at all. This may lead to men naturally trying to “push” their urine out.

Women with pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that causes one of the pelvic organs to protrude into or even through the vaginal canal may find it difficult to start urination, causing them to “push” to get it going. 

If you feel you absolutely must push when you urinate, you should see a doctor about the potential causes. 

The Correct Way To Pee

The best way to empty your bladder is to:

  • Take a deep belly breath, fully relax, and be present during the process. 
  • Make sure you’re in the right position. Sit up properly on the toilet (no hovering) with your knees above your hips and your palms on your knees. This helps to relax the pelvic floor making the process easier. A stool can help you obtain this position. 
  • Practice double-voiding. This process is really just taking the time to pee twice, to ensure that you’ve fully emptied your bladder. You can wait on the toilet an extra minute after you’ve already urinated then relax and try again. Or you can get up, walk around for a bit, then sit down and try again. The most important thing is to not strain during the process.

Do you have a urination problem you’d like more information on? Visit our conditions section to learn more about bladder health issues, or send us a message!

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