Maybe you’re a busy parent who has to multitask or you just finished a particularly grueling workout and need to hop in the shower ASAP. But once you’re in the shower and the water starts running, you’re not alone if you have the urge to pee.
It’s probably fine to just urinate in the shower, right? Especially given that getting out of the shower, trying to towel off, peeing and then getting back in the shower (with a head full of shampoo) is just so much work. But are there any risks to peeing in the shower? Here’s what experts have to say.
It should come as no surprise that some people pee in the shower. In fact, many do. While there’s no set statistic, you’ll see estimates that 61% to 80% of people say they’ve done the act before.
Do I need to worry?
First, an FYI: Urine isn’t sterile, despite what you might have been told. As a result, it can affect your health. “Some bacteria, such as those that cause a urinary tract infection, can be found in urine,” Kandis Daroski, a pelvic health physical therapist at Hinge Health, tells Yahoo Life. “In theory, if you had an open cut and urinated in the shower, that bacteria could enter the cut and cause an infection.”
She also warns against exacerbating symptoms of urinary urgency, which is a sudden, strong urge to urinate, and overactive bladder, noting that for some, the running shower water could be a trigger. “Continuing to pee in the shower because you have the sudden intense urge could create bad bladder habits, which can worsen your symptoms of urinary urgency,” she says.
But don’t fret if you occasionally relieve yourself in the shower. Daroski says infection is “very rare.”
A urologist agrees, even seeing it as a good thing for the environment. “There are no health risks to peeing in the shower,” Dr. Fenwa Milhouse, urologist and specialist in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, who owns Down There Urology in Chicago, tells Yahoo Life. “It is completely safe for the urinater to pee in the shower, and it saves toilet bowl water used to flush the toilet.”
What can I do about it?
First, check in with yourself before stepping into the shower. “I recommend taking a few deep breaths and evaluating your true need or urge to urinate before taking a shower,” Daroski says.
Next (or if you’re already in the shower when the need strikes), she encourages looking at where you’d put that level of urge on a scale, with 1 being mild and 3 being urgent. If you’re at a 3, go pee. But if you’re only at a 1 or 2, she suggests a few strategies that can help you “hold it,” including five quick Kegel exercises or holding a Kegel for five seconds, taking three deep belly breaths or distracting yourself by thinking about something else.
That said, Milhouse says people should urinate in the shower if they want to, with a few caveats. “If they find it more difficult to urinate standing up in the shower, they should not,” she notes, encouraging people to wait until they can sit on the toilet. “Your pelvic floor is more relaxed in that position.”
But what if you share a shower? Is it courteous to not pee in the shower or does the water wash it all away?
Daroski says communication here is key. While she believes the other person probably won’t care, “It is never a bad idea to ask, out of respect.”
Healthwise, the people in your household are most likely fine too. “It’s plausible there may be some bacteria left behind,” Milhouse says. “But even then, it’s highly unlikely to affect the health of your showermate unless they have an open cut on the sole of their foot.”
The main takeaway
Bottom line: Peeing in the shower is usually OK, and it shouldn’t cause any health problems, according to experts. But out of respect, it doesn’t hurt to check in about the practice with others who also use that shower.