The Beer Bladder

September 19, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally come to that special time of year. That time when the temperature starts cooling down, the leaves start changing color, yadda-yadda-yadda. All that is nice but let’s be real, it’s football season. It’s time to get the family and friends together, fire up the grill, yell and scream at your TV, all the while doing what you can to maintain a perfect score with your fantasy football team. We get it, we’re right there with you on the front-lines cheering on our favorite teams and players and, like the rest of you, chances are good we have a beer in our hand. Maybe there’s even a trusty keg nearby. Your team makes a touch-down and, for some unearthly reason, you and your friends decide it’s time for a celebratory keg-stand.

Five minutes later, you and your buddies are on the verge of drawing straws to see who gets to use the bathroom first. Your kidneys just aren’t cooperating at this point because the alcohol in the beer has suppressed the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) which normally makes your kidneys reabsorb water. The more alcohol you’ve had the less your kidneys want to reabsorb water and help you out. All that unabsorbed water that your kidneys just aren’t dealing with is just rushing to your bladder and filling it up like a water balloon at a faucet. At this point you really don’t care how many beers you’ve had, you just know that you really need to go. Even the corner in the back yard is looking good right now because your best bud is taking his sweet time in the bathroom.

You get in the bathroom and get to do your business… Sweet, sweet relief. While you’re in the bathroom you hear your friends all start cheering and yelling in the living room. You just missed the touch-down. You finish up and rush back to the living room as someone else dashes into the bathroom behind you. You grab your beer and start sipping again while catching the replay. At this point you might start noticing your mouth getting a little dry. When you relieved yourself your body just got rid of a lot of water, so dehydration is starting to kick in. What’s the solution? Well, there’s still this beer in your hand and half a keg in the kitchen and – TOUCHDOWN!!! Uh-oh… Nature is calling again.

People normally attribute this sort of “constant going” experience with just drinking beer. However, no matter what it is that you choose to drink, or how much you consume, the alcohol will cause the same effect. A shot, let’s say of whisky or vodka, can have the same diuretic effect as a full glass of beer. How do we prevent this from happening? It’s easy; just drink plenty of water in between drinks. The water will help prevent the ADH blocking effect of the alcohol, you just need to remember to grab some before you refill your plastic red cup from the keg. Just remember that all you need to be able to drink without risking missing out on a big game-defining moment or potential half-time wardrobe malfunction is to just drink your water. Game on, guys!

Overactive bladder starts with the kidneys. Ask Austin urologist Dr. Shaw for more details.
If your bathroom breaks are more frequent than commercial breaks, blame it on the alcohol.


Please call to schedule an appointment for preventative/follow-up care: 512-694-8888