SAN ANGELO, TX - Whether you tuned in to the MLB All Star Game, Tuesday night, or maybe coming in from a night out on the town; it's a way of life to have a couple adult beverages during the summer.
But what goes in must come out, sometimes sooner than we'd like. It's called "breaking the seal" and for years it means missing the next major play just to go to the bathroom.
Many of us have all been there. One minute you're three drinks in, the next, Mother Nature says it's time to go – now.
Picture this, your friends joke that you just “broke the seal,” which means heading back to the bathroom every five minutes, but is that accurate?
Dr. Elisa Brantly, M.D. is a Urologist with Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas. This was a question that no one has ever asked her, until now.
She’s perhaps the best resource to verify this claim who says that the endocrine system processes don’t change between males and females.
"Pretty much,” says Dr. Brantly, “Kidneys to bladder? Same. Bladder out? Different!"
First, she says, we need to address how alcohol affects the body. Anything we drink stirs hormonal changes in the body, so the kidneys work extra hard every minute to remove excess fluids.
Electrolytes and toxins, for example, are diluted with extra fluids and as your bladder fills, the urge to go – well, we've all been there. This process repeats without fault, until the bartender serves you something other than water.
"Unless something like alcohol messes with the hormonal regulation," says Dr. Brantly.
Naturally, our bodies produce a hormone called ‘vasopressin.’ Basically, it's the hormone that prevents you from making a lot of urine, but alcohol suppresses that.
“So, you make a ton of urine when you drink alcohol,” adds Dr. Brantly.
Therefore, we can verify alcohol does make the body produce more urine, but is "breaking the seal" true? Does it mean we go more often? Dr. Brantly says a true coorelation simply does not exist.
"I think that's more urban legend,” she says, “but, whenever you go to the bathroom and you're drinking, you're making a ton of urine. So, you're going to have to go the bathroom for frequently because you're suppressing the antidiuretic hormone.”
So, "breaking the seal" isn't true, but that doesn't mean your thirst for a cold one won't leave you flushing when it matters most.
Dr. Brantly adds that alcohol often irritates the bladder which can make the urge to go that much stronger. While your body can normally handle 300 milliliters of water with no problem, 200 milliliters of alcohol could be just enough to send you back to the bathroom.
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