The science behind “breaking the seal” — why alcohol makes you pee more often

The science behind “breaking the seal” — why alcohol makes you pee more often

– Jess it’s Friday 2:30
you know what that means. (belches) (sighs) I gotta go pee. – No way, you’ll break a seal. – Break the seal? Sorry that’s not a real thing. – Yes it is. – Is it?
– Sort of, maybe? – [Both] Let’s science the
(tone beeps) out of it. – What do you think breaking
the seal actually means, Joe? – Glad you asked. As you are aware you have
a normal amount of urine in your system. When you’re drinking a lot more alcohol, you create a lot more urine. So when you first go to the
bathroom that’s the old urine. Because you’re drinking
so fast you’re creating new clearer urine. And since it’s clear it
slips through your urethra a lot quicker. That’s why you have to pee more often. – Yeah, not even close Joe. – What do you want from me? You’re the smart one.
– Yeah, not even close.
– I’m the drunk one. – So what breaking the seal
actually means is you’re out for the night and you’re
drinking and you feel that first urge to pee and someone
tells you not to go because you might break the seal. – [Joe] Then you gotta go
like every five minutes. – Yeah exactly. That’s what it refers to. But what’s actually happening is you do feel that need
that urge to pee more but it’s not because you
broken some sort of seal in your body, it’s because alcohol actually acts like a diuretic. – Ah yes, a diuretic. I of course know what
that is but why don’t you let our audience know what it is. – A diuretic is any substance
that causes you to loose more fluid than normal. The way it works is by blocking
a hormone called vasopressin which signals to your
kidneys to absorb fluid when you’re dehydrated. This tricks your body into
thinking it’s more hydrated than it actually is and
so you expel more fluid than you normally would. – It’s not the amount
of fluid I’m consuming it’s the alcohol in my
system that’s telling my body pee, pee, pee. – Well it’s both actually.
– Okay. – It’s the alcohol and it’s the amount of fluid your drinking. The average bladder holds
about two cups of fluid comfortably, so how fast
your bladder fills up depends largely on how much
fluid you’re putting into it. So for example a glass of beer
is going to fill your bladder faster than a shot of whiskey. Now add to that alcohol’s diuretic effect and you have the perfect recipe
for a full bladder, faster. – I certainly am not gonna stop drinking so if I don’t wanna break the seal I’ll just hold in my urine all night. Right?
– No, you definitely shouldn’t hold in your urine. – Why? – Holding in your urine isn’t just painful it can actually increase
your risk of a UTI. You can also damage the sphincter muscles that prevent your bladder
from leaking urine. So do not hold your urine
unless you absolutely have to. – All right well right now
I absolutely have to so before I go to the restroom
can you say definitively is breaking the seal a real thing? – No.
– Okay. – It’s not. What’s actually happening
is you’re drinking alcohol and you’re drinking lots of
fluids and those two things combined are like a perfect storm that’s irritating your
bladder and making you feel like you need to pee more. And you ultimately do have to pee more because your bladder’s filling up faster. – Yes, it has.
– It’s like it’s swelling like a balloon down there, Joe.
– Yes, stop talking. – Yeah.
– Can I go, please? – Yeah, yeah go ahead.


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