Holding One’s Bladder Painfully for no real reason

I’ve been away from this blog for a few days because of travel to see friends and family before the fall busy season begins. During my travels, I used airplanes as a means to go from Costa Rica to Panama, and also from Costa Rica to the USA.

This entry is much like my listing of strange, self-competitive habits that produce negative feelings if I don’t feel I achieve the “goal” or aim of the habit I am obsessing over.

When I travel by plane, I have this strange obsession about holding my bladder until it is utterly painful and probably damaging to my organs. For some reason, I feel “trapped” on an airplane: There’s no where to go but to stay in one’s seat, and this makes me feel as if I have no other alternative but to remain absolutely still throughout the entire journey.

Basically, my obsessive need to hold my bladder is due to a feeling that I am somehow less of a man, wimpy, or like a girl for having to get up during a flight to use the restroom. This fear is compounded if I have a window seat, since I will have to disturb others in my row in order for me to get to the restroom. As a result, I choose to simply “hold it” until landing.

The result is a painful abdomen and a really long urinary discharge, but emotionally I feel as if I’ve climbed Mount Everest or completed a marathon. As a result if I DON’T hold my bladder and “give in” during the flight, I feel like a pussy, a wimp, and hopeless that I’ll ever be able to face challenges in the future.

Usually, this feeling gives rise to “catastrophe” thinking, ie. What if I was kidnapped and unable to use a bathroom? Would I simply wet myself? What if I was stuck in a van or bus without a toilet, and I really had to go? Would I stop the whole bus and demand to “use the woods” – how embarassed would I feel?

For some reason, I’ve come to equate holding one’s bladder with social, physical, and emotional confidence or prowess.

Speaking scientifically, this is a horrible habit. I forget that I am diabetic, and that my blood sugar tends to run high when I travel by plane, because one is imobile for hours on end while in the air. As a result, the higher blood sugar and its byproducts spill into my bladder, waiting to be expelled because they are dangerous to my body. Under “normal” circumstances, the body signals the brain to go to the bathroom when one’s renal tolerance is being exceeded. Put another way, the body signals the brain to go number one when the bladder can no longer accept waste from the body without first making more room.

As a diabetic, I should give myself credit for being able to hold my bladder for even the smallest of time periods, because of the stress diabetes places on the kidneys, liver, and bodily waste removal systems. Instead, however, being diabetic feeds my habit of holding my bladder psychologically by making it “more of a challenge”. If I can hold my bladder as a diabetic for 3 hours, when I’m finally in the airport and get to the restroom, I truly feel like a man.

Sometimes during longer flights I’ll count the number of times I see people get up and go to the toilet. Once in a while, I’ll count one or two people going to the bathroom 3 times within a 4 hour flight. Usually these people are older, female, or are children. Most of the time, young men in their 20-30’s (my age) are not the “multiple goers”, but instead line up with me after the flight in the airport restroom, or go just once during a longer flight.

I really don’t understand why I feel the need to hold my bladder excessively. On one hand, it feels like a rewarding challenge, but on the other, it surely must hurt my body.

Moreover, if I can hold my bladder for a long time, I feel like I’m in “bladder holding training”, so that I can teach my body to hold it longer and longer. The result is an image of being able to hold my bladder under the most extreme circumstances, or during social situations where going to the bathroom would be awkward.

Ultimately, I don’t really think the body works this way physiologically. It’s one thing to lift weights and build muscle everyday (because that is how muscle is nourished and increased), but to hold one’s bladder to the point of excrutiating pain on a consistent basis must hurt the body, not “build it up”.

Again, this is just another strange habit I have that feeds my Borderline Personality need to feel whole, to feel worthy, to feel like everyone else. I can’t explain how this developed: perhaps when I was travelling during long car rides as a youngster my parents ignored my requests to use a restroom, or when I was in grammar school I had anxieties about asking a school bus to pull over during class field trips.

Either way, it boils down to a feeling of personal embarassment or social weakness if I have to go to the bathroom “in front of” a plane, bus, train, or car load of people.

I am going to make a promise to myself: the next time I take a trip that involves air or bus travel, I will make it a point to go to the restroom ON THE PLANE OR BUS as soon as I feel the need to go, instead of holding it until I feel like I’m going to burst.

I think this is not only better for the body, but less stress on the mind. It will also stop feeding my Borderline Personality machine that seems to never be satisfied with self critical challenges no matter what I do.

11 Replies to “Holding One’s Bladder Painfully for no real reason”

  1. i actually admire guys like you that can hold for the whole flight ,wish i could, but maybe it’s not so good to do with diabetes. if it stresses you out just go, thats what the bathrooms are there for,you wont be less of a man

  2. You really need to work hard on this, especially as a diabetic. When you’ve held so long that you are in pain, that your bladder is visibly protruding, you are hurting your body. You run the risk of bladder “constipation”–an inability to release when you finally get the chance because the muscles have held so long they are “locked up” and cannot relax. The only cure for this is catheterization–and imagine the pain you will suffer until you can get to a hospital and go through all the procedures and paperwork before they can finally insert the catheter and give you relief!

    You also run the risk of your bladder muscles weakening to the point that they will no longer hold at all. Can you say “Depends”? Or a permanent catheter? No more sex life for you.

    So, be a man and tackle this fear of looking like a wuss if you need go. There is nothing macho about holding until you hurt.

    If you need to talk, just e-mail me.


  3. Hi, thanks for sharing that. I am M41, & I have a very similar thing!; tho it is not a self-competition to beat a feeling of inadequacy. I just don’t like parting with a comfortably full bladder, I don’t void by habit – eg; before going out / before a trip, or even on rising!
    I like to keep half-to- full bladder. I would also wait till a plane/ train/ automobile trip was over before going to the toilet, I would not feel embarrassed tho, if I did have to go.
    This is an obsession, although it comes and goes in cycles of weeks.
    I don’t like to empty my bladder, except before bed. I don’t hold my pee to the point of pain. I relax into-it as I don’t like desperation. I would like to develop a bigger bladder despite having a capacity well in excess of a litre (40 fl oz).
    I did not pee at school, although I am not peeshy. I still, today, rarely pee while I’m out. Often after peeing I feel that I peed too much or shouldn’t have voided at all yet!
    What should we call this?; Obsessive Voluntary urine retention (re-occurring obsession)
    Have even thought of taking a bladder relaxant to avoid desperate contractions, so that I can stay full comfortably!
    If my bladder is sore, I’d rather do frequent partial pees, than empty.
    If you were to loose your holding habit; would you miss it?/ or part of it?
    What do other’s think of this obsession?
    Feel free to write ( if there’s a link)

  4. For ZeeZee

    I hold my bladder. It feels good. Usually I have a good morning piss. When I was 12 I was very pee shy and couldn’t go when anyone was around. I could not go in any public facility until I was in my mid-20s. So I would hold a bladder full until late afternoon when I got home. I would pee just before bed. A full bladder then would keep me awake. There are times when I have an extended work day, I won’t go the second time until 7 p.(a (12 hour hold)and not go again to the next morning. I admit that I have a large bladder that holds a liter plus at a time. I began to enlarge my bladder by holding it so long as an adolescent.
    Also that is genetic. There were days when my mother only needed to urinate once a day.
    How often do you pee in a normal day? ZeeZee

  5. for filup and for zeezee

    I also like to hold my bladder, and not too rarely reduce peeing to twice a day. Every now and then I even make it for 24 hours without. Like zeezee states the feeling of a nicely full bladder is nothing to avoid but to generate by skipping all the usual opportunities for voiding. Sometimes I start into the day without a morning pee just because I like the feeling of a definitely non-empty bladder. And throughout the day I get acquainted to the constant (or better: rising) pressure down below. At the end of my work shift I am sometimes not sure how to manage to drive home safely, but do not want to spoil the ‘good’ feeling either. So I pee just some squirts or a cup full, and then continue holding it in into the evening.

  6. I also ran across this site by accident, but wanted to chime in. Although I don’t have the psychological feelings that you describe, I do tend to hold my urine awhile (mainly for the “good” feeling when letting go; see comment by holdimax). The longest I held it was about 8 hours. It is common for me to wait at least 2 or 3 hours, especially since my job as telephone customer service doesn’t always allow for restroom breaks when you need one. The anticipation of finally being able to use a toilet can be a wonderful feeling, and then, when you finally do let go and urinate, it is such a relief and it gives me a really good feeling inside. It is common for me to pee for more than a minute with a strong stream; I’ve never measured quantity but it is a lot, and however much it is, it sure feels good to be getting rid of my urine!

  7. Hi guys,

    Good to read your blog. For myself it all started as a child. I wouldn’t go the toilet in the middle of the night so as not. To make noise and wake my parents up. Then once I started to live on my own I couldn’t go as I had drummed it into myself that I couldn’t. Today my problem is that I have no sensation when my bladder is full. There is no pain and I am not aware so I make myself go when I’ve drank alot of liquids. I am now concerned that I’ve stretched my bladder so much that I’ve damaged it.

    Thanks for ‘listening’

  8. When I was in school I holded my bladder fore 5 hours .
    I rember peing my pants fore 3 minutes in the 8 th grade.
    After having a frapicno my blader almost explodes in bus.

  9. When i was in kindergarten and preschool i peed my pants many time because i was shy to use the toilet. I was embarrassed to go if someone see that im going to toilet. In school also at first and second grade i peed my pants because of that. Then i didn’t pee but i was shy anyway to go to toilet. I just learned to hold. Then because cold weather i peed my pants a little bit at eight grade. I also like holding sometimes.

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