Refusing to urinate for extended period


Q: What happens when you hold your urine too long? I was told that someone held their urine so long that when they did decide to empty their bladder, he was not able too, and had to have a catheter inserted. Moreover, the person said that it caused tempory paralysis, to the point that he could not walk until his baldder was drained. Is this possible? If so, how long would a person have to hold his urine before this was to take place?

Symptoms:  Paralysis, catheterization

A:   Hello,
Thank you for your query at

I understand your concern.
A normal person can hold his bladder up to 12-14 hours, if required and then evacuate. There are no phenomena where if a person does not empty his bladder, catheter will be needed. It is not possible because a full bladder will cause pressure symptoms and abdominal pain forcing the pee out. In other cases of local pathology such as urethral strictures or stones, or severe UTI, if someone is unable to pass urine, then catheter will be needed.

Temporary paralysis can't occur voluntarily.

Hope this was helpful,

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