Parting Glances: Urogynecologist, Anyone?

By Charles Alexander
Originally printed 2/6/2014 (Issue 2206 - Between The Lines News)

I can be thinking contentedly of a dozen things - of sealing wax, cabbages, queens - but let me get one hundred yards near my art studio, and without the slightest conscientious intent on my part I suddenly, urgently, desperately, have to p-e-e-e.

I'm convinced my bladder has a mind of its own, taking a perverse delight in reminding me at inconvenient moments just who really runs my Waterworks Park, who alone schedules my sunlit Old Faithful spoutings.

Whoa! Hold on there! I urge the little guy haphazardly working the switch, bargaining for a few more seconds 'til I get my key into the lock and make an unscheduled dash to the loo, there to discharge another distillation of my allotted 140,515.58 lifetime litres.

I'm not alone in being ambushed by this most insistent of Pavlovian reflexes. It happens to everybody, and to some with five-alarm frequency. (Test: See how soon you have to go after -- or during -- the reading of this Pee G.)

I wouldn't have brought the topic up in mixed company (tiny bladders vs. big tankers), but I chanced upon a Cosmopolitan magazine article, "Do You Always Have to Pee? (Find Out Why Your Tank Seems So Tiny -- and the Surprising Ways to Fix It)".

According to the article, some hapless glamour gals pee as many as 15 times a day. "My boyfriend calls me the pee queen," opines Vanessa, 25, "because I'm at mercy of a bladder that won't quit, while he can hold it in all night."

(I wish I could find someone with that holding-it-in-all-night expertise. Even an amateur's half hour would suit me just dandy. Peeing in his case optional.)

You'll be pleased to know that bladder size has nothing to do with frequency of voiding (or, avoiding voiding). Nor is male or female a factor says urogynecologist Dr. Ingrid Nygaard. "No matter what gender you are or your overall physical size, all bladders are capable of expanding to about the same amount: able to hold up to 18 ounces of liquid."

The problem is that we're drinking more liquids these days. "We've become a nation of chronic drinkers," says Lindsey Kerr, M.D., another pee-in-the-bottle, smile-for-me specialist. "And logically, the more a person drinks, the more she's going to need a bathroom break."

As for Cosmopolitan's "surprising" ways to curb an insistent urge to go on bladder patrol - say, beyond a reasonable truck stop call of patriotic duty - desensitization heads the list. "As soon as you feel the need to go to the bathroom, take a few deep breaths, relax, and hold it for half an hour." (Your breath, not your privates.)

You may get a little red in the face or find yourself doing a few spontaneously choreographed tea dance routines, but don't worry your pretty little unzipped head. In time your feisty bladder will learn who's boss and come around to behaving itself like a lady or a gentleman (or both) in public.

To pee or not to pee. That is the question. The answer: Let it all hang out. Just don't get caught with your panic down.

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