Your Bladder Gets a Workout Every Day
The average person produces 32 to 48 ounces of urine a day. The bladder can hold more than 2 cups at once for up to about 5 hours, which creates a lot of bladder pressure. Additional pressure is put on the bladder when it contracts to release all that urine, which normally happens 4 to 8 times a day.
The Reflex to Pee
The central nervous system controls your reflex to pee. The walls of your bladder have stretch receptors that become active when your bladder is half full. These receptors send signals along your pelvic nerves to your spinal cord which returns a signal to the expandable bladder wall muscle, or detrusor, telling it to contract. This contraction increases bladder pressure which makes you feel like you need to urinate. However, you don't usually release the pee until you voluntarily release control of the external sphincter, or the opening of the bladder. You will usually feel the need to pee when your bladder has about 1 cup of urine in it.
Incontinence is the accidental and unwanted leakage of pee. This condition often becomes more pronounced when you laugh, cough or sneeze. This leakage of pee occurs when the bladder muscles and pelvic floor muscles that hold up the bladder weaken and don't have the strength to hold the increased bladder pressure caused by a full load of urine. The pee then seeps through.
An Overactive Bladder
If you find that you have a strong need to pee at unpredictable and inconvenient times, then you might have an overactive bladder. It is caused when the expandable bladder wall muscle, or detrusor, malfunctions. It increases bladder pressure more frequently so you feel like you desperately need to go to the bathroom, even though your bladder may not be full.
Chronic Constipation Can Increase Pressure
Chronic constipation, the kind where your stool compacts to become a large, dry mass stuck in your rectum, can place pressure on the bladder and cause all sorts of avoidable problems with your ability to pee. In severe cases, impacted stool can become so hard that it can't leave the body and plugs up your rectum so you can't eliminate any other solid wastes from your body. Surgery may be needed to get rid of it. Severe constipation and even milder forms can cause health issues. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, drink enough fluids and get exercise in order to prevent constipation.