When you've got to go, you've got to go. It's annoying and uncomfortable when you can't. On a train, for example. The toilet's in such a state you can't face going in. Or on a plane. Maybe a couple are awkwardly joining the Mile High Club and you're having some trouble. Or you've been stuck on a bus for 18 years. The driver won't let you off.
It turns out holding on to go to the loo is also quite bad for your health. In most cases, it's nothing to worry about. But there a few reasons why you shouldn't wait too long.
Hugely unlikely. But if it happens, it's bad. When the bladder bursts, urine fills the abdomen, and emergency surgery is required. More likely is for your bladder to stretch. When this happens, your muscles that allow you to hold on weaken, and there's a greater chance of wetting yourself. It also makes going for a wee more difficult. In severe cases, a catheter might be needed.
Again, don't worry about this. It probably won't happen. But holding on too long does increase the chance of getting an infected urinary tract. It's called a UTI. It's down to bacteria. Studies show that holding your wee for too long can cause bacteria to build up and multiply. This can cause pain and stinging, and make your pee dark and strong smelling. If this happens, you'll need antibiotics. Go to the doctor.
This might happen eventually. But you don't want to speed up the process. Incontinence is simply not being able to hold your wee. It's caused by weakening pelvic floor muscles and a weak bladder. If you hold on too long, this speeds up the process.
Bad news. Kidney stones form when waste products in the blood form crystals over time. They're more common in people who don't stay hydrated. Most kidney stones can be passed out in your wee. It hurts the bigger they are. In some cases, they'll be too big, and surgery is required. Kidney stones can cause aches, pains, nausea, and blood might develop in the wee. Call a doctor.
More common is simply the fact that holding on is painful. The sensation people get from going to the loo is real – muscles have been holding something in, and releasing them feels good. Holding on too long can be very painful.