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Urinary bladder: function and capacity

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  • What is the capacity of a man’s bladder?
  • Is it harmful to your health if you don’t act on your urge to urinate right away?
  • Can you fill a 1.5 liter bottle with urine in one go?
  • Can the urinary bladder burst if it is overfilled?
  • How many times should a man urinate daily?
  • What are the most common bladder diseases in men?
  • How do you keep your bladder healthy?

Men know this: whoever goes to the toilet first in the bar pays for the next round. One of the standard phrases at an advanced hour is to brag that you have already filled a 1.5 liter bottle with urine in one go. But is that even possible? And could the bubble possibly burst? We will clarify these and other questions about the urinary bladder with Prof. Dr. med. Christian Wülfing, chief physician in the department of urology at the Asklepios Clinic Hamburg-Altona.

What is the capacity of a man’s bladder?

Our urinary bladder collects the urine that is produced when the kidneys clean the blood. She collects it and then excretes it through the urethra. “Normally, a man’s bladder has a capacity of around 300 to 400 milliliters. However, it is very stretchy and can hold more,” says Dr. Wülfing.

Training and nutrition plan

Is it harmful to your health if you don’t act on your urge to urinate right away?

We can control the emptying of the bladder at will. In healthy people, it doesn’t matter whether the bladder is empty or full, the bladder sphincter always remains tense. As the bladder fills, the nerves on the bladder wall constantly inform the brain of the current level. If the bladder is full, they signal that emptying must take place. If we then go to the toilet, we relax the shooting muscle and at the same time the bladder muscle tenses to push the urine out of the bladder.

“If you don’t fulfill your urge to urinate immediately, it’s not a problem to a certain extent,” explains Dr. Wülfing, “You can also train your capacity in this way.” The bladder learns to feel the need to urinate later and later, despite being more full.

Can you fill a 1.5 liter bottle with urine in one go?

If someone claims to have filled a 1.5 liter bottle of water with urine in one go, can that be true? Dr. Wülfing: “That may be true, but it is rather worrying because it indicates a “drained” bladder. In the long term, it is not healthy for a bladder to be so overstretched.”

Anyone who often holds back urine for a long period of time, even though the body urgently signals to go to the toilet as quickly as possible, is overstretching the muscles of their bladder. Over time, the overstretched bladder muscles lose the ability to contract normally. The consequence: the muscles relax and the bladder can no longer be completely emptied or, in extreme cases, not emptied at all. Then you are threatened with a catheter because you can no longer pee. Painful bladder stones and inflammation can also result.

Can the urinary bladder burst if it is overfilled?

No, fortunately she can’t do that. A healthy person can keep the sphincter closed over a longer period of time with a strong will, but only up to a certain point. As soon as the largest possible storage capacity is reached and the bladder muscle is under too much tension, the sphincter relaxes automatically.

How many times should a man urinate daily?

Dr. Wülfing: “There is a rule of thumb: If your bladder holds around 300 milliliters and you drink 1.5 liters, then you have to go to the toilet about 5 times.” If you drink 3 liters, or if you empty the volume earlier than 300 milliliters, you have to go more often.

What are the most common bladder diseases in men?

“Bladder infections are significantly rarer than in women, but can occur, especially if the urinary bladder is prevented from emptying by an enlarged prostate,” says Dr. Wülfing. An enlargement of the prostate can also lead to overstretching of the urinary bladder, which then always has to work against the prostate’s resistance and therefore eventually becomes overstretched, according to the expert. This reduces the tension of the bladder muscle and leads to emptying problems.

Men are also more often affected by bladder cancer than women: of around 30,000 people affected in Germany, more than 23,000 are men, according to the German Cancer Research Center. The main risk factor for this is smoking.

How do you keep your bladder healthy?

“Drink enough, i.e. at least 1.5 to 2 liters per day, and ensure regular emptying,” advises Dr. Wülfing, “If the holding capacity decreases, a urologist should be consulted at an early stage. Likewise, the symptom of blood in the urine should be taken seriously and always clarified.”

Bet whoever can hold their urine the longest can, in the worst case scenario, end up in a mess, but luckily their bladder can’t burst. But it’s not healthy either.

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