Winter and Urinary Urgency

So…strange topic for a first post but since it may be relevant to some people given the winter season, I wanted to share my thoughts. We took a weekend trip to Melbourne recently at 22 weeks pregnant and being the start of June, the weather was quite cool. chilly. windy. Basically, I needed my big winter coat and scarf everywhere I went. But what I found interesting was that when we were out having dinner one night, I stepped out of the restaurant and into the cold and immediately felt like I needed to pee. In the physio world we call this an urge to void.

A lot of my patients say to me that during cold weather, their bladder seems to act up and they get a sense of urinary urgency. If you don’t know what urgency is, it’s basically like an extreme sensation of feeling like you need to pee. Some people get it so bad that they fear they might leak. I don’t normally get urgency but I suspect that pregnancy is at play here.

Anyway, walking around on the street I felt like I had a sense of urgency and was wondering the location of the nearest toilet. But as soon as we stepped into a warm area e.g. cafe, shops, the urgency stopped. I thought this was fascinating because I was starting to understand exactly how my overactive bladder patients feel.

Yesterday, I was at an overactive bladder course in Sydney and brought this up. It is unknown as to why cold weather seems to trigger urinary urgency but we believe it’s got something to do with the sensitivity of the nervous system in the cold. After all, a slap in the face in cold weather feels much worse than when it’s a warmer climate. In the same way, sensation of urinary urges could be amplified in colder environments.

A couple of things you can try to doing to hold onto your bladder in the case of urinary urgency – curling your toes over in your shoes or standing on your toes (activating calf muscles) – it helps the urge to go away!

Note: urinary urgency is not specifically related to pregnancy, it can happen to anyone!

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