Healthy Body

What a ‘Normal’ Pee Pattern Looks Like, According to a Urologist

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Everyone has that friend who always "needs to pee!" (Or, hey, maybe you're the friend—no judgment here.) Pee frequency and quantity—aka, your "pee pattern"—is a highly discussed topic among those who carry their emotional support water bottles everywhere and those who take a more relaxed approach to hydration. But if you're wondering, once and for all, how often you should be running off to the bathroom, we asked a urologist to help you answer the very important question: "Is my pee pattern normal?"

Let's just get this out of the way right up front: There's no golden rule when it comes to how often you should be hitting the loo. "The 'normal' number of times to pee each day can vary depending on volume of fluid and what type of fluid," says Karyn Eilber, MD, a board-certified urologist and an associate professor of urology and OB/GYN at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. "However, urinating more than eight times in a 24-hour period, assuming no excessive fluid intake, is generally considered excessive." The Cleveland Clinic notes that generally speaking, peeing over 10 times a day isn't a health risk—but may just be, well, kind of annoying.

Of course, there a myriad of factors that could land you on the lesser or higher end of the pee frequency spectrum. "Some is just convenience—if you are busy or there's no restroom you might just hold it," says Dr. Eilber. "Drinking more or less and sweating more or less can also contribute to how much someone needs to urinate." Diuretics like coffee and alcohol will also make you have to go number one more often and, of course, pregnancy is famous for making trips to the bathroom a bit more frequent.

As for the quantity you should be peeing, Dr. Eilber says that most people can hold up to 2/3 of a liter—or just under three cups—of urine in their bladder at a time. So when you do hit the bathroom, you should be seeing about that much liquid (not that you should necessarily whip out your measuring cup). "What's not normal is urinating frequently with just a few tablespoons of urine," says Dr. Eilber. This type of pee pattern could be indicative of a urinary tract infection (UTI), overactive bladder syndrome, or prostate problems, so make sure to book an appointment with your primary care physician ASAP.

By now, you're hopefully feeling a little more satisfied with your urination habits, it's worth noting that if you're not, it's possible to change them (at least a little). "If someone urinates too frequently, they can try decreasing fluids and bladder irritants such as caffeine, carbonated drinks, and acidic fluid," says Dr. Eilber. Meanwhile, if you don't feel like you're peeing enough and you're feeling symptoms of dehydration (like thirst, dry mouth, and brain fog), you can start slowly trying to incorporate more H2O into your day.

Now, all you have to do is get the 411 on your poop pattern (because, yes, that's a thing too).

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