I hate peeing.
Is this a totally ridiculous thing to say? It is. Is it a necessary bodily function? It is. I'm aware. Nevertheless, I hate it. Well, hate's a strong word. But it is, at the very least, bothersome.
When I'm in back-to-back meetings or editing a story on deadline or finally finding time to eat my lunch, taking a break to take the time to walk down the loooong hallway to the bathroom to pee interrupts my day. It interrupts my flow.
And then there's the bewildering cult-like beauty obsession with drinking water. Nearly every dewy-faced ageless celebrity or model touts water and water alone as the secret to their agelessness. Message received: If you want to look beautiful, drink lots of water. But I tend to disregard that message in favor of delusional perceptions of uninterrupted productivity. I don't drink enough water. And I hold it.
I realized something might be awry when I counted the number times I peed one day recently and my grand total was…two. And if ever there were a sign that I ought to change my behavior, it's last week's gleeful tabloid headlines ("Ya Gotta Relieve!", "Field of Streams", and "A Swing and a Piss") about baseball player Matt Harvey's bladder infection caused by…holding it in. The New York Post published a story titled, "New Yorkers too busy to pee are getting UTIs like Matt Harvey." It's a thing.
So, I decided I ought to find out: How dangerous is it to pee just two times a day? How many times a day should one pee? And what color should it be?
I consulted Dr. Gina Sam, MD/MPH, director of the Mount Sinai Gastrointestinal Motility Center to find out.
Here, her answers, some of which you've probably heard before (yes, eight glasses of water a day is still the recommended amount), and some which scared me.
How bad is it if you pee only two or three times a day?
That means you're dehydrated, yeah. And if it's very yellow, that means you're not drinking enough water. [If your pee is dark] that just means that you're not drinking enough water.
How bad is it to hold it?
It's bad because, first of all, it's the same thing with pooping. Some people have trouble if they hold their poop. They have trouble figuring out what to do when they're ready to go, so they kind of confuse the muscles. I believe it's the same thing with your urological system, where if you're holding it all the time, you may confuse the muscles, or you may have urinary retention when you're ready to go, so I think it's not a great idea.
How often should I be peeing everyday?
Sometimes when you're drinking that much water, you're probably going to the bathroom every hour, every two hours because your body is getting rid of the water, but the kidney's doing its job to kind of get the electrolytes out, so you're going to be urinating a lot.
But that's annoying!
Yeah, yeah. I know. I try to drink 64 to 80 ounces a day, and I'm always going to the bathroom, but it's fine. I notice a difference when I don't drink enough water. If you're dehydrated, you just have a dry mouth, you may feel a little bit more tired. You may feel lightheaded. Those are pretty much the symptoms of not having enough water.
How much water should I be drinking daily?
I would say on average, it's recommended to have about eight eight-ounce glasses of water, which is about 64 ounces of water.
Can you ever drink too much water?
Well, actually, yes. If patients are drinking gallons and gallons of water, it can affect your electrolytes.
Are there any other ways to get your daily recommended water dosage without drinking water?
I mean some of the fruits that we eat, like watermelon, have a lot of water. Oranges or many of the berries have a lot of water, but I don't know if they're enough [to stay hydrated.] I recommend eight glasses of eight ounces, which is 64 ounces a day.
And what about when you've worked out and sweat a lot?
I suggest if you're exercising that you drink water before, during, and after your workout. When you exercise a lot, you lose more water. When you urinate or poo, you lose water, too. Most of our bodies are made of water, so we have to replete it because our bodies really need that to be healthy and stay hydrated.
This article originally appeared on Elle.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.