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The call of nature...

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Dec 15, 2004
for some reason, whenever I hold my breath for extended periods of time, I get an amazing urge to urinate. Even if I go before I start, I still get this weird urge to pee, this is really distracting and usually makes me surface and stop holding my breath (that way it doesn't actually make me pee in the pool), but this usually occurs after about 35-37 yards of swimming and 3-4 contractions, if I hold my breath long enough, I just kinda piss in the pool (don't worry, I stopped after the first couple times :p ), does anyone know whats going on or how I could stop this?
Hi Jon

It was once explained to me that when we dive, the pressure on our bladder caused by obviously depth confuses the bladder region into thinking that it's full, and your natural body-functions then inform your brain that it's time to urinate...whereas you bladder is normally fine, it's simply feeling the pressure of the 1 or more atmospheres.

This may be wrong, but his explanation seems very simple, and very straightfoward???


thats sounds like a good explanation :)
i was worried that the cause was the lack oxygen causing me to lose control of my muscles
It is a condition called Immersion Diuresis , basically when you immerse the body in water it stimulates the Kidneys to increase urine output.
everyone gets it or should get it!!
Diuresis doesn't set in so quickly (fortunately, otherwise wearing a drysuit would be a real problem :D) so what JonDaAzn experiences most unlikely is due to diuresis.
FAQ > Immersion Diuresis

( The urge to urinate)

The phenomenon known as immersion diuresis occurs whenever the body is immersed in water. Immersion, along with a water temperature that is colder than air, causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the extremities. This vasoconstriction occurs primarily in the skin and superficial tissues of the body as well as in the muscles of the arms and legs. The result: An increased volume of blood is sent to the central organs of the body such as the heart, lungs and large internal blood vessels.

The hormone that controls the production of urine by the kidneys is called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). It controls when and how much urine your kidneys make. The increased blood volume to the major vessels is interpreted by your body as a fluid overload. This overload causes ADH production to stop, which in turn allows the kidneys to immediately produce urine to lower the centrally circulating blood volume - the body's automatic response to preserve blood volume. Once you exit the water, circulating blood volume returns to near normal - less the fluid taken to produce urine, which is quickly replaced as the body draws fluid from body tissues, such as muscles. Unfortunately, you probably will also leave the water with a full bladder. Since we are all subject to the same phenomenon underwater, this is probably your normal response to immersion. If this situation causes problems like urinary tract infections, see your doctor. If your coffee is caffeinated, you may wish to switch to a decaffeinated brand, as caffeine is a known diuretic that also interferes with the production of ADH.* So, what to do? Hold it till you get out of the water; or urinate in your wetsuit (urine is sterile). Suits should be hand washed in a mild soapy solution, rinsed and air dried after each use. Wetsuits can also be disinfected by soaking in a very mild bleach solution overnight. 1 or 2 oz. of household bleach in 10 gals of water should be sufficient. Make sure you rinse thoroughly, bleach can degrade neoprene and fade fabric linings.

*Technical information provided by the Divers Alert Network. www.diversalertnetwork.org

Thanks for the description! Although immersion diuresis is something that we all deal with on a regular basis while diving, I think that the amount of time required for the bladder to fill in response to core blood pooling would be 5-10 min at least. Probably (as Veronica pointed out) the less than one minute that it would take to swim 35-37 yd would be insufficent time for this to occur.

I have experienced this several times during extended breathholds. I believe that this is caused (as you suspected) to the body losing control of less than vital funtion. I have no proof of this, but am only speaking from my limited experience. That same experience has taught me the importance of using the facilities to relieve myself of as much as possible before any type of apnea ;) Ah, let's just say that in later stages of a breathhold it's also possible to, ummm well, begin to lose control of the bowel too... :mute enough on that topic tho! :hmm :yack As long as I make that necessary visit to the can beforehand tho, I'm fine.

I really hope that was helpful... 'Cause there was a kinda mucho dignity sacrifice here!! :ban

Take care and keep that pool clean ;)
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it could be, that when you do the breath up, the right way, filling your lungs from the bottom, expanding the diaphragma down as much as you can, and then at breath out also started from the bottom, it also irritates the bladder. This and the mentioned immersion diaresis together can cause the effect you wrote, perhaps. I think every freediver knows this effect at trainings,, :)

Huan is somehow right...

You piss a lot...this is due to a diurisis.

The diurisis in Freediving is not only due to pressure (immersion)...it is also and mainly due to cold.

Diurisis = kidney filtering blood and in this case, seperating water from the rest of the blood. (lowering blood volume)

It is the reaction of an increasing blood pressure.

2 reasons for this increase:

- 1 Cold -

It s cold. To prevent the body from getting cold, all your blood leave the extremities and goes to the center of the body. (toes getting white)
Same quantity of blood concentrated in a smaller volume...blood pressure increase.

- 2 Ambiant Pressure -

The pressure around your body increases whith depth. This pressure aroud the whole body makes blood pressure increase.

This has a direct impact on your performances. Dehydration lowers the quality of muscle functionning.

In fact, blood with less water gets thicker and doesn t flow easely threw the capilars. This means that cells might not get sufficient O2 and nutriments...and that they ll have problems rejecting toxines and CO2.

Conclusion: Hydrate

Francois CIPA Nice
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