THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Health Answers

Do people urinate more during the cold months?

By Judy Foreman
December 22, 2008
  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Single Page|
  • |
Text size +

This is not exactly the most-studied question in medicine, but yes, patients often do report a greater sense of urinary urgency in the winter, doctors say.

"In the olden days, we would have pooh-poohed this question. Now, we're paying attention and trying to see what causes it," says Dr. Pablo Gomery, a urologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Cold air seems to trigger an increased sense of urgency, he says, though this does not necessarily translate into incontinence.

A 2005 study by researchers at Whittington Hospital in London, did assess both urgency and incontinence in nearly 2,000 men and women.

They found that certain conditions, particularly fatigue and worry, were associated with the highest risk of urgency and incontinence.

Running water and cold weather were next most likely to do so, followed by waking, rising and "latchkey" situations, in which one suddenly feels the need to use the bathroom when putting the key in the front door.

Animal studies suggest that cold weather "can induce bladder muscle overactivity," says Dr. Michael O'Leary, a senior urologic surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

And the hallmark of an overactive bladder - as those TV ads make clear - is a sense of urgency. This is in contrast to the other main type of incontinence, "stress incontinence," which is triggered by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as from coughing, sneezing, or jumping.

People may also make more urine in the winter as in the summer because in warm weather, the body gets rid of more fluid by sweating.

E-mail health questions to foreman@globe.com.

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
 
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article
  • powered by Del.icio.us
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: Boston.com does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.