You’re walking through the park on a cold winter morning, when it hits you: the need to find a bathroom, and fast! This did not happen in the summer.
Is there anything about Winter Does it make us want to urinate more?
We study the bladder and lower urinary tract. Here are two main explanations for what is happening.
1. Our way of life is changing
In the summer we tend to be outdoors and more active. We sweat more (to lose heat) and it’s easy to become dehydrated if we don’t drink enough water.
This has an impact on the amount of free liquid our body is ready to excreteand our urine the volume is often reduced because of this.
In winter, we are often inside, around water sources, so we are more likely to be hydrated, less active and sweat less. As such, we tend to have more free fluid to excrete via our urine.
2. Our body wants to avoid losing too much heat
If we become cold very quickly, the body protects our internal organs many different ways.
One is “cold-induced diuresis“, or an increase in urine excretion in response to cold.
First, the blood is diverted away from the skin to avoid losing its heat to the outside air. This means that more blood ends up flowing to your internal organs.
In particular, blood rushes to your kidneys in greater volume and at higher pressure. This increases the amount the kidneys need to filtered. Therefore, your rate of urinary excretion increase.
What should I do?
Our diet, age, blood pressure, and personal circumstances can all impact how much urine we pass.
Producing more urine can also be a sign of hypothermia. Your body reacts to the cold as a stressor, so act quickly. Find a place out of the cold and slowly warm up your body.
If the increase in urine is also accompanied by other symptomssuch as severe chills, difficulty breathing or confusion, medical attention immediately.
Keep fluids in the winter too
If you’re out in the cold, you might not be thirsty. However, be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. While it can be tempting to avoid drinking so you don’t have to rush to the bathroom, it can lead to dehydration.
If you are often out in the cold with light clothing and find that it increases your urine output, there may be long term impacts.
Frequent urination may be detrimental to your body’s natural salt balance (especially sodium and potassium). So be sure to maintain a Balanced diet.
It looks a bit like a balancing game. The key, however, is to avoid stressing your body this way when it’s cold. To do this, make sure you dress appropriately and keep yourself warm.
What if you didn’t notice any difference?
Although the body has mechanisms to make you urinate more in the cold, not everyone notices that they pee more in winter.
If you stay warm, there is no reason to think that your body would often be “shocked” by responding to cold temperatures.
In fact, when followed in research studies, it is common for researchers to register no difference in urinary production between the seasons.
And the urine?
It’s not just urine volume that can be different in winter. The composition can also change.
The body excretes a greater amount of calcium in the urine during Winter.
This is more likely due to lifestyle during cold seasons rather than something internal. We tend to be less active in winter, win extra weightand eat more salty, preserved and processed foods.
This means that there may be a higher risk of developing kidney stones in winter for sensitive people.
As the weather gets colder, be sure to maintain a healthy lifestylestay warm and don’t forget to hydrate, even when it’s cold.
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