What Happens if You Hold Your Pee and How to Avoid It

What Happens if You Hold Your Pee and How to Avoid It

Posted by Krista Eickmann on 22nd Nov 2023

What happens if you hold your pee? The answer is straightforward — overstretching the muscles of your urinary system can lead to problems like incontinence and urinary retention. It can irritate the bladder, sometimes combined with other factors contributing to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

There are many reasons why a person might hold their pee: a stressful job, the lack of accessible restrooms, physical restrictions or disability, and clothing restrictions. These conditions might be temporary or systemic.

Whether people can’t hold their pee or simply need to change their situation, empowering tools exist to help make those problems easier. Your long-term health is worth it.

The Science

Urine is stored in the bladder. The bladder wall is a muscle that relaxes as it fills and contracts to empty it of urine. Over time, holding urine excessively wears down the muscle as well as the urethral sphincter.

The problems are cumulative, and a pattern of holding urine can contribute to urinary dysfunction for years.

Is it bad to hold your pee? No, it isn’t inherently bad to do it occasionally, but doing it regularly can affect the muscles in the urinary system. Reduced muscle function can potentially lead to incontinence or urinary retention, which means that the bladder does not fully empty each time a person pees.

People also wonder if holding your pee affects urinary tract infections. The most common cause of UTIs is external bacteria like E. coli. If you’re holding pee for long periods, it’s possible for bacteria to move inwards and proliferate on urine inside the bladder.

Can holding pee cause a UTI? No, holding pee isn’t the cause of a UTI, but it can certainly contribute to it.

Why Do People Hold Their Pee?

There are many reasons why people hold their pee.

Outdoor Recreation

From hiking to rock climbing to boating and more - people love to do fun stuff outside. However, if bathrooms aren’t available, some people will restrict water consumption and try to hold their pee. It is not great for health or comfort.


Many jobs make holding pee an unspoken requirement. Nurses, teachers, and waiters may be unable to break away from their work. Warehouse runners, truck drivers, and delivery workers might also have difficulty getting a bathroom break.

Other jobs require thick layers of clothing, like working in winter weather or on fishing boats. Some jobs happen in places where no bathrooms are available, like road flaggers. Work environments that are understaffed put extra stress on individual workers.

Workers deserve to work in conditions that support their bodies, but unfortunately, how to hold your pee is a skill many have to learn.

Medical Issues

Medical issues can be a real barrier to bathroom access. Knee pain, for example, makes it difficult to sit down or stand up from a low toilet. Broken bones or recovery from abdominal surgery can make sitting almost impossible.

Various physical conditions make it physically difficult to use the bathroom and may lead to a person holding their pee excessively. Many public restrooms are only nominally accessible, and home restrooms can be completely inaccessible.

It’s no wonder that people worry about getting a UTI from holding pee! Just getting to the bathroom can be anxiety-producing enough.

Systemic Reasons

Many of the reasons people hold their pee are circumstantial, but others, like a lack of access to gender-neutral bathrooms, are systemic. Systemic reasons are more likely to affect women, transgender, non-binary, and intersex people, and disabled people.

pStyle To the Rescue

The pStyle is a device that allows a person to pee standing up while clothed. Many different people use the pStyle—women (both cis and trans), transgender men, non-binary and intersex people, and even some cisgender men use urinary funnels.

We believe that the pStyle is for everybody! A stand-to-pee device like the pStyle gives people choices as they move through the world, and it can help you to pee in situations that might otherwise be difficult.


Awesome outdoor recreation activities like hiking provide a great opportunity to use a pStyle. Peeing standing up is easier and more discreet if you don’t have to pull down your pants. You can protect your behind from bugs, cold weather, and itchy plants by simply using a urination device to stand and pee.

Surprisingly, it is sometimes possible to urinate in public without violating the law, as long as you are not damaging public property or practicing indecent exposure. See our blog post about peeing in public discreetly and legally.

At Work

Working in multiple layers of clothing? If you can unzip the front of your pants or lower the waistband, you can use a pStyle.

Limited time to take a pee break? Using a pStyle makes peeing faster and cleaner.

For Medical Reasons

Difficult to sit down on a toilet? It’s easier to pee standing up.

Stand-to-pee devices make it easier to navigate public and private bathrooms, one’s own clothing, and the physical mechanics of peeing. They’re easy to use and simple to carry as you move through the world.

Access and Safety

Carrying a pStyle gives women, transgender, non-binary, and intersex people choices about how, when, and where to pee.

Being able to stand to pee in a men’s restroom stall makes a world of difference for trans men.

Using a bottle as a urine collection device with the pStyle instead of having to expose yourself to squat and pee is a matter of safety for many.

Your Bladder Health Matters!

The pStyle is an amazing tool. It has changed how a lot of people feel about the world they live in because it makes this everyday act a little easier.

Want to know more? There’s more information on our website and a range of pStyles and pCases to carry them in.

Questions like “What happens if you hold your pee?” are important, and no one should have to suffer because they can’t access their own basic bodily functions.

So, if you have more questions, use our contact page to ask! We love hearing questions from our customers. Let us know how we can help you to pee more easily in this world.