Why do we get an urge to pee when we are nervous before a big event?

After years of hard work, you’ve got promoted and tasked to host your first big symposium, an hour and a half before the conference starts, your extremely nervous and the need to pee strikes. Everyone has been there. Nervousness or anxiety elicits a need to go number 1. But why does getting stresses suddenly flicks the switch in your urinary bladder?

Well, there are two kinds of ‘peeing’ feeling instigated whenever you’re set for a big event. First is the complete loss of control of the urinary bladder when you get shocked or startled. The other one is the frequent need to visit the restroom to pee but good enough that you can still manage your bladder.

In the first scenario, it is the limbic system which is at work. It is a series of structures concerning emotion and memory, endocrine and autonomic function, and even the intricate processes that regulate the bladder. However, there are instances that the signals from the limbic system can be so powerful that it can repress data transmitted from the bladder, causing you to pee involuntarily. Such an event happens during incredibly rare and extremely frightening moments.

The same system can also be the culprit when you feel like you really need to pee though you can still control until you reach the comfort room. There are situations when you might be scared or a little nervous, such as getting on a job interview or meeting CEO the first time, but you’re not actually in imminent danger or risk. So, instead of pissing yourself once you’re at the height of your agitation or fear, your body sends a message to urinate at the given moment rather than later. Through that, you can avoid such a ‘messy’ situation.

A different theory suggests that during significant events when you are incredibly nervous. You become more aware or sensitive to all the things your body is doing, such as breathing, blinking, sweating, and even the slightest urge to urinate. So, even though your bladder is not actually full, you seemingly feel like you need to pee. That happens continuously as long as you are in the nervous situation, increasing the times you think you need to visit the restroom.

However, such a feeling can also be traced to an overactive bladder or OAB. It is characterized by a group of symptoms that include frequent or sudden, and uncontrollable need to pee. There is an array of causes of OAB, such as the use of medications, caffeine, alcohol, infection, or obesity.
Moreover, it can also be to the muscles and nerves situated in the urinary bladder. The bladder is made up of a thin layer of muscle, which expands when the bladder fills to the brim. Once it stretches, the nerves send signals to the brain that it is time for you to pee. However, having an overactive bladder means that the bladder is too sensitive that it picks up the slightest expansion. Some people associate their OAB symptoms when they experience high anxiety levels as anxiety also triggers tension in the whole body.

While most people feel the frequent urge to pee, some individuals experience the otherwise. Paruresis or shy bladder syndrome happens when you feel difficulty urinating in the presence of other people. The idea of peeing while other people are around results to high levels of stress. That causes the stiffening of sphincter muscle between the urethra and the bladder. Thus, making it harder to urinate.

But, whichever type of feeling you get related to peeing when you feel anxious, one is for sure, the urinary bladder and the mind are linked to each other. If it causes you trouble, seek help from a doctor immediately for you to get the right therapy or care.

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