Can Your Bladder Really Burst?

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Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4848
   Posted 7/13/2010 7:45 AM (GMT -6)   
What 'holding it' means to your body.
Maybe you want to avoid using the portable toilet at a rock concert. Or you’d like to get some miles behind you rather than visit the rest stop on your cross-country trip. Or maybe you just don’t want to get out of bed when duty calls in the middle of the night.
We’ve all “held it” before, for whatever reason. But does holding off on urinating do any damage to our bodies? And what about the notion that your bladder can actually explode if you hold it too long—is there any truth to that?
Age 55   - 5'11"   215lbs
Overall Heath Condition - Good
PSA - July 2007 & Jan 2008 -> 1.3
Biopsy - 03/04/08 -> Gleason 6 
06/25/08 - Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy
05/14/09  - 4th Quarter PSA -> less then .01
11/20/09 - 18 Month PSA -> less then .01
05/18/10 - 24 Month PSA -> less then .01
Surgeon - Keith A. Waguespack, M.D.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7078
   Posted 7/13/2010 10:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I sort of homed in on the one item where it might be true - Radiation damage. Ouch. Too close to home. But, since I'm still in the moderate leaker category, guess I'll leak first.

Worried Guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3739
   Posted 7/13/2010 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Geez I hope not! Last month the Uro took pictures of my bladder diverticulum with his scope. It looked just like a bubble in the side wall of an old tire.
Fortunately(?), I am incontinent so there's not much pressure on it - 10" H2O max.

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 7/13/2010 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
I had this conversation early on in my saga of strictures, blockages, and catheters. A nurse, that was assisting while putting in an emergency cath in the early days, assured me, that no matter how great the pain was, that it wouldn't do any perm damage to my bladder. She said that the bladder was an incredibly strong muscle. When blocked, it fills, and stretches to a certain degree, and that is causing the pain. Once now more urine can enter the bladder from the feeder tubes from the kidneys, it will start to back up there too, causing more pain. It can become dangerous when the kidney's themselves get backed up.

I have had bladder spasms so intense and long, that I was convinced that there was an explosion inside my bladder, and as painful as they are, so far, no real damage, other than the trauma of how much it hurts, and the trauma of knowing that it is going to hurt bad when I feel a spasm coming on.

Interesting question and answer though.

David in SC
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence:  1 Month     ED:  Non issue at any point post surgery, no problem post SRT
Post Surgery  PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, next one:  July
Latest:  7/9 cath #6 - 41 days, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 - 38 days, mapped  9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath, 10/5 - 11/27 IMRT SRT 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 35 days, Cath #10 43 days, 1/19 - Corr Surgery #4,  Caths #11 and #12 ,Cath #11 - 21 days,  Cath #12 - 41 days, 3/2- Corr Surgery #5, Cath #13 - 4 days, Cath #14- 27 days, Cath #15 - 26 days, Cath #16 - 31 days, Cath #17 - 39 days, 7/2 - Corr Surgery #6, 7/2 - Caths #18 & #19

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 292
   Posted 7/13/2010 1:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Just to put some perspective on this - Footballs were originally made out of pig bladders.
Diagnosed at 54
PSA 8.7 Biopsy 1/7/09
4 of 6 cores positive, one at 90%
Gleason 3+4=7 Neg bone scan 1/15/09
One shot Lupron Depot 1/27/09 Tax Season
RP 4/29/09
Neg lymph nodes, postive seminal vesicle, 1 positive margin
Gleason 3+4=7 with tertiary 5 T3b
Catheter out at 2 weeks no nighttime incontinence Pad free week 5
PSA 6/6/09 <0.1; 9/10/09 <0.1; 3/11/10 <0.1

Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 7/14/2010 5:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I can only say this much ~ After surgery, radiation, and ADT, I can still make it farther than my wife when we drive long distances. So when I finally give in and pull off the road, it's not my bladder that's about to burst...

Advanced Prostate Cancer at age 44 (I am 48 now)
pT3b,N0,Mx (original PSA was 19.8) EPE, PM, SVI. Gleason 4+3=7

LARP ~ 2/17/2007 at the City of Hope near Los Angeles.
Adjuvant Radiation Therapy ~ IMRT Completed 8/07
Adjuvant Hormone Therapy ~ 28 months on Casodex and Lupron.

"I beat up this disease and took its lunch money! I am in remission."
I am currently not being treated, but I do have regular oncology visits.
I am the president of an UsTOO chapter in Las Vegas

Blog :

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4848
   Posted 7/15/2010 4:53 AM (GMT -6)   
I asked my surgeon about the time I drove home after a couple beers (2) at happy hour. I had to go so bad thought I was going to die any second  from the pain. I asked him if if was bad on the bladder. He said nope..but it "could have been" bad for the cars upholstery if it were cloth and not leather smhair

Worried Guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3739
   Posted 7/15/2010 6:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Tony, Steve N Dallas,

I read about a guy who was coming home from work and encountered road construction on the highway. He felt nature's call and left his car to water the grass in the woods. Another motorist saw him do it, called the police and they immediately responded to "Protect and Serve " the community.
The officer asked the guy if he did it. The man responded "Of course, I was bursting ". He admitted he had to take it out in order to urinate. In Indiana that "crime" is called "Indecent Exposure" which is considered a sex crime. The guy was found guilty and is now on the sex offender list. Ridiculous except that is ruins your life.

Take note my fellow leakers with small bladders.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 7/15/2010 8:09 AM (GMT -6)   
The classic case of "holding it" too long is Tycho Brahe (astronomer 1546-1601) Supposedly he would not get up from a banquet table to relieve himself because he believed that it would have been rude. He was later unable to urinate and died a week later in great pain.

"Hey guys, I've got to go see a man about a dog"
Age at diagnosis 66, PSA 5.5
Biopsy 12/08 12 cores, 8 positive
Gleason 3+4=7
CAT scan, Bone scan 1/09 both negative.

Robotic surgery 03/03/09 Catheter Out 03/08/09
Pathology: Lymph nodes & Seminal vesicles negative
Margins positive, Capsular penetration extensive Gleason 4+3=7
6 weeks: 1 pad/day, 1 pad/night -- mostly dry at night.
10 weeks: no pad at night -- slight leakage day/1 pad.
3 mo. PSA 0.0 - now light pads
6 mo. PSA 0.00 -- 1 light pad/day
9 mo. PSA 0.00 -- 1 light pad/day ED remains
12 mo. PSA 0.00 -- still one light pad and ED

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