Holding your pee: Will it damage the prostate?

Dear Alice,

Is it true if a guy holds his urine too long it can damage the prostate and make it harder if not impossible to have boners or be aroused?

I watch too many movies

Dear I watch too many movies,

Holding your urine for extended periods can be uncomfortable and may put you at increased risk for urinary tract infections, but it isn't likely to damage your prostate or hamper your sexual performance. Your bladder is a muscle. If you delay using the bathroom on a regular-basis, the bladder may become overfull, causing it to distend or stretch out. This may impact your ability to empty your bladder completely, which might make you have to pee more often, since you lose storage space (this, however, is relatively uncommon in younger people).

Bladder weakness may also decrease the sensation of having to urinate. You may not feel you have to pee until your bladder is extremely full, so you don't have a lot warning time before you really need to pee. Accidents or leakage may be more likely to occur.

For the health of your plumbing, drinking plenty of fluids and peeing regularly is advised. But even if you get stuck in a long bathroom line and are forced to hold it, your prostate and potency will likely be safe!

Last updated Jun 10, 2015
Originally published Jun 09, 2006

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