Separate the Sound of Running Water From the Urge to Urinate
Separate the Sound of Running Water From the Urge to Urinate

Separate the Sound of Running Water From the Urge to Urinate

It can be easy to allow the sound or feel of water to trigger the urge to urinate, but it's not a healthy habit and can even lead to urinary incontinence.

Your Health

By Brianne Grogan, PT, DPT, for Women's Health Foundation

I know, I know ... it's convenient. But urinating in the shower isn't a good idea. Don't even urinate in the toilet when the shower is running! For that matter, it's not a good idea to urinate in the ocean or the pool either.

Common courtesy aside combining the sound (and feel, if you're showering or swimming in a body of water) of running water with urination is a recipe for disaster. It puts you at risk for developing a "conditioned response" such that every time you hear or feel running water you may suddenly experience the urge to urinate. Remember Pavlov's famous dogs, who salivated every time a bell rang? Same idea.

When you're doing dishes, when you start the laundry, when you're washing your hands, when you're at a drinking fountain, when someone else is showering … there are so many instances when this can be a problem. The water starts running, and soon you're running to the toilet. The sensation to urinate will often feel incredibly urgent, which could contribute to loss of control (incontinence). 

So, try your hardest to avoid coupling urination with running water. This is one simple way to prevent issues with urinary urgency and incontinence.

Brianne Grogan is a women's health physical therapist in Portland, Oregon, and founder of FemFusion Fitness LLC. Check out FemFusion Fitness at


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