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"When I hold off going to the restroom for a long time, my stomach hurts. What's happening?"

ZocdocAnswersWhen I hold off going to the restroom for a long time, my stomach hurts. What's happening?


-Female -20 -No medications -Don't drink enough water -Only happens after holding it


Thank you for your question regarding pain you are experiencing from holding off going to the restroom. I am not sure whether you are referring to holding in your urine or your bowel movements. However, neither action is a good idea and can put your health at risk. Thus, I recommend that you speak with your doctor. The bladder and colon are both organs which are designed to temporarily store our waste products. When the bladder or colon get too full, they stretch out, and send signals to the spinal cord which then alerts the brain that it is time to go to the restroom and unload these products. Babies don't have this feedback mechanism so they urinate and stool reflexively. But as we grow older and become potty trained, we are able to interpret these signals and to control when we go. Of course it is natural for you to develop discomfort when you do not listen to these signals and do not go to the bathroom when your body is telling you it is time. Holding in your urine or stool can lead to infection, because these waste products are sitting for a long period in one place, making it easy for bacteria to grow and multiply. With the bladder, urine can even start to back up into your kidneys and cause more serious infections there. If the nature of your work or some other external factor is preventing you from going to the bathroom when you need to, it is important to address these right away. Otherwise you should not be voluntarily holding in your bodily functions. Please talk to your doctor for further information.

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