You know the feeling. You'll be sitting on your office desk and all of a sudden, you'll realize you're desperate to go for a pee. Which would be fine, if it weren't 10 a.m. and you hadn't gone three times already.
Okay, maybe it doesn't happen in quite that quick succession, but you get the drift. When you need to go, you need to go, and it can prove quite inconvenient when you enter one of your 'pissing like a faucet' phases.
So what's causing it? We asked Dr. Seth Rankin of the London Doctors Clinic to round up the possible reasons you might be spending more time in your work toilets than at your desk.
First, Dr. Rankin explains why our bodies need to pee as a bit of context to what might be going on in there if you're needing to go so regularly. We urinate to flush out any waste products, which means a higher "output" of urine, if you will, is usually simply a sign of good hydration.
Peeing also keeps body fluid levels down, because if this fails to happen, "we get fluid build-up in the form of edema—commonly seen in the form of puffy ankles," the doctor says. So really, you should be thinking of frequent peeing as a good thing, but here are some of the possible reasons why it happens:
1. Drinking too much
Without meaning to state the obvious, if we drink too much we will pee more often. "There's so much made about the health benefits of drinking 2 liters of water every day, but this is a myth," says Dr. Rankin, before he goes on to explain why. "Research many years ago showed an average person needs about 2 liters of water every day for optimum health. This same research noted that about 1.6 liters comes from the food we eat. Even what seems dry as a bone in your mouth is mostly water."
The doctor advises that we actually need around 400-600 mL—around 2 glasses of water —a day. But he adds: "This of course differs if you have cystitis or another reason to want to pee more."
2. Overactive bladder
Overly frequent toilet trips and the occasional accident could be a sign of an overactive bladder, the doctor advises, which is when "the bladder suddenly and uncontrollably contracts, even when not full, for no apparent reason."
Dr. Rankin adds that "if this contraction is associated with loss of bladder control, it's known as 'urge incontinence.' While the cause is unknown, pelvic floor exercises and bladder training can help regain bladder control, along with weight loss (if necessary) and drinking less caffeine."
"One of the main symptoms of diabetes is feeling excessively thirsty," notes the medical expert. "So undiagnosed diabetics often end up drinking far more than usual before they get diagnosed. And as we all know—what goes in must come out!" If you're concerned about this, it might be time to pop to your doctor to get your glucose levels checked.
4. Urinary incontinence
Defined as "the unintentional passing of urine," urinary incontinence can feel embarrassing, but it's actually very common, apparently. Causes can range from damage during childbirth, to being a repercussion of certain surgeries like hysterectomies.
Dr. Rankin explains that for people suffering with this, "laughing, coughing, and sneezing can increase the pressure in the bladder beyond its ability to hold urine in, resulting in an accident." But once again, training your pelvic floor muscles can help with this.
5. Nervous peeing
Right before that big interview, on your way to that blind date, or before that exam you've been dreading—we all know the nervous pee. You know your bladder isn't full and you don't actually need to pee, but your mind won't seem to rest until you've at least tried.
"This is an inconvenient part of the body's sympathetic nervous system—the 'fight or flight' response to stressful situations," says Dr. Rankin. "This releases a surge of the hormone adrenaline into the blood, which in turn increases urine flow."
6. A small bladder
"The bladder holds on average 300-500mL of water, which is just a couple of cups of tea, or one small bottle of water," explains the doctor. So it's not surprising to think that just a couple of drinks is enough to fill the bladder. "But if you find that just one drink sends you running for the loo, this might just be because you have a small bladder."
"Similarly, if for any reason your bladder is being compressed, such as in the late stages of pregnancy, you'll find yourself needing to pee far more often," he adds.
7. That coffee addiction…
"Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes increased urine output and reduces the body's total fluid volume," Dr. Rankin tells Cosmopolitan. So the more tea and coffee you drink, the more trips to the toilet you need to make. And apparently the same goes for alcohol, which explains the whole breaking the seal thing and why you always wake up with a mouth drier than the Sahara Desert the following day.
8. Habitual peeing
"Sometimes, you don't even need to pee, it's just a habit," suggests the medical expert. "Whether it's before starting watching a long film, when you're about to leave for a long car journey (or if the journey has just begun, if you're that kind of annoying person), or last thing at night, that habitual trip to you run off to the loo may merely be psychological."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.