This article originally appeared on VICE India.
Most of us have held our pee at some point in our lives—be it while waiting in a snaky queue at a mall bathroom, or during a movie, or just when you’re too lazy to get out of bed at night to take a leak. But one man from China ended up holding his pee for so long after a round of heavy drinking that he ruptured his bladder.
A 40-year-old man from the eastern province of Zhejiang in China consumed over 10 beers in one go and then drunkenly slept through the entire day without getting up to pee even once. When he woke up from his inebriated sleep, he started feeling intense abdominal pain.
He was then rushed to a hospital, where it was discovered that he had reportedly held his urine for almost 18 hours. Scans then confirmed his bladder had three tears. As the bladder was damaged due to increased pressure inside the organ, the man had to get an emergency operation. A doctor told the media that the pain was so severe, he wasn’t even able to lie flat.
Fortunately, surgeons were able to repair this man’s bladder without any further complications. While he is now in stable condition and recovering, his story serves as a reminder to take care of your body, even on wild rounds of drinking.
Doctors recommend emptying your bladder regularly, about once every three hours. A healthy bladder can hold about two cups of urine before it’s considered full, and it takes your body nine to 10 hours to produce two cups of urine. That is about as long you can wait without peeing and still not be too worried about damaging your organs.
With alcohol though, the case is different. Drinking alcohol can make you pee more than if you had the same amount of water. This is because alcohol essentially increases production of urine. Additionally, it suppresses the hormones which signal the kidney to stop making urine. In some rare cases, it can even make you wet the bed while sleeping. Though how often you need to pee when you’re turning into a boozy cat for the night varies from person to person, some doctors also believe the effect of alcohol on the bladder is more intense for women. If you’re smoking alongside drinking, the cigarettes might irritate the bladder too.
Which is why, keeping the bladder in check while going out drinking is especially important. The doctors said that while this particular case of the Chinese man was rare, it could happen to any of us. The next time you joke about your bladder bursting, remember this man and learn from his life experience.
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