Exploding bladder?

I’m a high school teacher, and one of my kids was begging to go to the bathroom. I told him no (for a variety of reasons I won’t bore you with now), and he insisted that if he didn’t go his bladder could burst. Well, it didn’t, but it left me wondering…is that even a possibility? I would imagine your body would involuntarily expell any waste if it got THAT full, but could you hold ‘it’ in so tightly that something would rupture(by ‘it’, since we’re all adults here, I mean #1 and #2, not to get too technical on you)? Are there any benefits if you hold ‘it’ in (say, strengthining of muscles?) Any other problems associated with holding ‘it’ in.

I think that it is mean (and boarder line abusive) to not let someone go the bathroom when they need to go. What if he did “involuntarily expell” his waste? I am sure that he should have gone before class or maybe you thought he could wait 10 minutes but there are times when you just can’t do that. When you have to go sometimes you really have to go.

I have never heard of a bladder exploding. Holding it too much can cause kidney and bladder infections.

I didn’t go into details about his request, but I can assure you it wasn’t abuse. The kid wanted to run around and play in the hallways, but it still left me wondering about the possibility of bladder explosion.

I will take your word on that JAPrufrock. But, I can’t help but remember a highschool teacher refusing to allow me go to the bathroom after I finished with a exam because it might disrupt the other students. I knew that I couldn’t wait another 10 minutes much less the 30 he wanted me too. I went anyway and got detension. For having to pee!

Sometimes I let things that happened to me color how I see other events. I guess we all do that though?

Full bladder combined with trauma could rupture the bladder more easily than an empty bladder. Hence my grandfather’s admonition before taking us for a ride in the car: “Everybody use the bathroom!”

The bladder itself won’t rupture just from sheer filling pressure, unless there is a significant bladder disease state involved, such as tumor or malformation. But one can become incontinent of urine if it is held too long.


Well, I was going to say that the astronomer Tyco Brahe apparently died of a ruptured bladder - the story does that he was at a feast and the protocol of the time was that nobody was allowed to go pee until the host did.

But apparently that story is not strictly true. What a disappointment.

I would think it would take a blockage of some sort to render the bladder in a condition where it could potentially rupture (“explode”). Otherwise, at some point the individual would release their urine whether they wanted to or not.

I had a patient once who was not allowed to use the washrooms on a long overseas flight. So, she held it in, and in, and in … In the past, she had received radiation treatment to her pelvic area for a gynecologic tumor.

The day after her flight, she noticed leakage from around her bellybutton. Yes, urine.

Note that this only happens, as Qadgop stated, in people with previous disease to their bladders. In the case of this woman, the irradiation had, presumably, weakened her bladder wall.

I should have added that rather than the bladder rupturing, the usual outcome is that the urine simply backs up. This leads to dilation of the ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder) and also of the kidneys themselves (hydroureter and hydronephrosis respectively).

Wouldn’t a really pressurised bladder experience reverse osmosis?

I once knew of this nurse who was too busy to urinate that she reached a stage where she just couldn’t let it out…a doctor had to drain it for her and it turns out…gasp a whopping 2 litres!!!

Reverse “osmosis” wouldn’t occur because the bladder is impermeable.

Regarding the nurse’s experience, when the bladder is overfilled, there reaches a point where the normal dynamics of bladder muscle contraction become deranged. So, even if there’s no longer any blockage to urine flow out of the bladder, the bladder can’t empty (there may be some “overflow”, but no coordinated nor complete bladder emptying).

I have heard stories of heroin addicts who were so high (and therefore numb) that they didn’t know they had to pee, which led to a bladder explosion. This is pure hearsay from several junkies. Is there any truth in it?