Involuntary urinating in tense situations.

What causes people/animals to involuntarily urinate when they are in a tense situation. Most suspect it’s caused by fear alone, but that doesn’t convince me.

What is it exactly that triggers this phenomenon?

Depends on what you mean by “exactly”. Are you asking for a biological mechanism or are you more asking for a “why”?

For the latter, I’ve always heard that it’s because you’re expecting injury. Dumping your waste before danger/combat prevents it from getting dumped into your abdominal cavity, causing sepsus. Thus, crapping yourself is a direct evolutionary advantage. No idea why my last date didn’t grasp that.

Well, if a known biological ‘chain of events’ exists, then it’d be interesting to know what it was, or where it starts.

You mention that it’s caused based on the person expecting injury. Now, let’s say a person was knocked unconscious unexpectedly. Is it still possible for this to occur, while a person is unconscious? Or could it happen while they are making the transition from conscious to unconscious?


I’m a Capricorn not an Oxford.

Birds almost always poop right before they take off. Probably to meke themselves as light as possible, and therefore faster.

I can’t buy that.

Firstly if the bowel/bladder wall is perforated there is no chance in hell that’s it’s going to heal in the hour or so that it will take for it to refill. So this will have no effect at all on sepsis.

Secondly urine is close enough to sterile. If the bladder has been breached the risk of infection is going to come 99.99999% from the jagged wound through the skin. The presence of urine is going to be insignificant. In fact by flushing sterile urine out through the entry hole it will probably reduce the chance of infection.

Thirdly emptying the bladder, or even the bladder and bowel, is going to help only in those cases where the wounding implement ( a claw or tooth) itself is sterile and where it only penetrates those organs and nothing else. I figure that’s going to happen maybe one in a billion times.

The most sensible explanation of seen for this is that it’s another evolutionary atavism. Many (most?) mammals excrete odour markers in their urine. When they are attacked by a member of their own species they urinate to show submission by releaisng the appropriate odours. IOW urination is a way of saying that they admit defeat and are begging for mercy.

Humans have retained an atavistic form of that instinct. It no makes no more sense than our hairs raising to make ourselves look better, which is something we also do when we are frightened.

I believe it is related to the “flight or fight” response - in either case not having to stop for a bathroom break would be advantageous.

It is not often a post makes me laugh and gag at the same time… well done Chessic. :wink:

:confused: “Look better”? Did you mean “look bigger”?

Unless the predator is really thinking “Gee, that cowering prey there with the raised hair is actually kind of hot. I guess I won’t eat him.”

I meant “look bigger”. ie “appear larger”. “Be perceived as more massive” .


A feeble attempt at humor. Never mind. :slight_smile:

Ohhhh. A penis joke. I think I get it. A bit too subtle for me. You should have used the word “cock”.

I didn’t see the typo in my post.

d’oh :smack:

I chortled. :slight_smile:

Of course this thread makes me think of Threads.

I don’t know enough about this subject to argue against you, but I will just add that we were taught in military service to always empty up before combat if possible, for that reason. It would seem to be of little comfort if a bullet has messed up your insides though.

They told you that because there is a good chance that you will get to surgery before the bowel refills.

But since we didn’t evolve in an environment with helicopter medevac and microsurgery, it seems a little implausible that this played much role in or current physical responses.

At the time, no. The following day, when you’ve had surgery to repair the wound and you *don’t *have septicaemia? Then it will make you much more comfortable.