Why do we need to pee more in winter?

Need to pee more in winter? You're not alone [Photo: Getty]
Need to pee more in winter? You're not alone [Photo: Getty]

The cold weather brings a number of inconveniences, having to de-ice your windscreen for a start, but have you ever noticed that as the temperature drops your trips to the toilet seem to increase?

So is it just a curious coincidence or do we actually need to pee more when we’re cold?

Turns out, there’s a proper bonafide medical reason that some people spend more time in the loo when the mercury falls.

According to Metro the cause of this more frequent peeing is something called cold diuresis, which is a process your body goes through to regular itself when temperatures drop.

“Cold diuresis can occur when the body’s temperature lowers,” Dr Diana Gall, from online service Doctor 4 U told the publication.

“The biological response is to redirect blood to the core to create warmth, while the kidneys release extra fluid to stabilise the pressure. And it’s this process which boosts urine production, giving you the urge to wee more in the cold, winter months.”

According to experts there isn’t a set temperature that will bring on cold diuresis, and that’s mainly because various factors including age, gender, body composition, diet, and even posture can all have an impact on whether or not you will experience it.

Thankfully, in most circumstances cold diuresis is not dangerous, but it can affect the balance of salt, water, and minerals in our bodies, which in certain cases could lead to conditions such as hyponatremia, hyperkalemia and hypokalemia.

READ MORE: Beer fans rejoice – the popular tipple can be 'very, very healthy'

Might be worth checking out where the loos are at those Christmas markets [Photo: Getty]
Might be worth checking out where the loos are at those Christmas markets [Photo: Getty]

The thing is going to the toilet more in winter is a little more inconvenient than normal.

Not only do you have to peel off a gazillion layers to gain pee-releasing access, but you’re likely tearing around doing your Christmas shopping with little time to locate a loo then stop for a wee.

But, while it is tempting to cross your fingers (and legs) and hope for the best, holding in your pee can actually be pretty bad for you.

For a start not giving into the wee when you need to go can confuse your brain and your bladder. And if you regularly hold your wee, it could mean your body’s ability to pick up on those must-pee signals reduces, leading to little accidents.

Mixed signals aside, there are some pretty serious health problems associated with holding your wee, including the dreaded UTI.

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It's not just your body that could be affected by an overactive bladder in the winter - your energy bill could be impacted, too.

By continuously flushing the chain after every toilet stop, the costs for your water usage will start to stack up.

According to Phil Foster from energy-saving comparison site Love Energy Savings, businesses that employ lots of staff are likely to experience a higher water bill in the winter months because of the effects of cold diuresis.

“If you’re one of the people who experience cold diuresis, you’re unlikely to notice a higher water bill just because you’re flushing the loo more regularly.

“But if you employ a hundred people, it could be the reason you’re seeing a spike in your energy bill.”

Thankfully, there are some ways to try to prevent cold diuresis including wrapping up warm and trying to avoid standing outside for long periods of time.

Interestingly an oft-cited study from more than 60 years ago revealed that exercising moderately while exposed to the cold could also help to ward off cold diuresis.

Back to 2019 and Dr Gall suggests keeping yourself hydrated during these chillier times. Sure it may seem weird having to chug the water in winter, but dehydration can occur all year round.

“If you are weeing too much, you need to replenish fluids to avoid dehydration,” she tells Metro.

Unfortunately, upping your fluid intake safely really doesn’t include pouring yourself another Eggnog, Mulled Wine, Minced Pie Martini [INSERT CHRISTMAS DRINK OF CHOICE].

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