Bladder Discomfort

As an inexperienced diver, with less than 50 dives since being certified last year, I have an unrelenting dilemma. No matter how many times I void, I always end a dive having to desperately go to the bathroom. My stomach will be bloated and I can't get my tank and wetsuit off quickly enough. I purposely don't drink before a dive, except two cups of morning coffee, and it seems I should be properly hydrated.

I go to the bathroom before I get in the water and immediately after the dive. (I refuse to urinate in my wetsuit.) How can I control this? I don't have a weak bladder or any form of incontinence. 
The answer to this interesting dilemma is based on an understanding of dive physiology. The phenomenon you describe is known as immersion diuresis and occurs whenever the body is emerged in water. Immersion, along with a water temperature that is colder than air, causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the extremities. This vasoconstriction occurs primarily in the skin and superficial tissues of the body as well as in the muscles of the arms and legs. The result: An increased volume of blood is sent to the central organs of the body such as the heart, lungs and large internal blood vessels.

The hormone that controls the production of urine by the kidneys is called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). It controls when and how much urine your kidneys make. The increased blood volume to the major vessels is interpreted by your body as a fluid overload. This overload causes ADH production to stop, which in turn allows the kidneys to immediately produce urine to lower the centrally circulating blood volume the body's automatic response to preserve blood volume. Once you exit the water, circulating blood volume returns to near normal-less the fluid taken to produce urine, which is quickly replaced as the body draws fluid from body tissues, such as muscles.

Unfortunately, you probably will also leave the water with a full bladder. Since we are all subject to the same phenomenon underwater, this is probably your normal response to immersion. If this situation causes problems like urinary tract infections, see your doctor.

If your coffee is caffeinated, you may wish to switch to a decaffeinated brand, as caffeine is a known diuretic that also interferes with the production of ADH.
Posted in

6 Comments


Rosemarie Solomon - April 21st, 2016 at 10:44am

This is interesting, as I have always suffered the same problem, as a diver. It's great to know it's normal and I now know who the wet suit "pee-ers" are. they are the ones not charging for the toilets after a dive.

Raven - April 21st, 2016 at 11:03am

Stop the refusal. Science says: pee in your wetsuit. Hence the wetsuit shampoo market. ;) Many people get urinary tract infection simply because they refuse to listen to mother nature. It is always useful to note the many effects entering water, (nevermind compression during diving) have on the body, i.e. lowering of heart rate, pupil dilation, hormonal releases etc

Lorenzo Pelli - April 21st, 2016 at 12:20pm

Well then... 50 dives and he refuses to wee in his wetsuit.... we go back to the 3 categories about this: the ones who do (I've doing it for ever, and infact it also happens during swimming sessions, so unlike many people believe, this natural reaction of the body is not related to depth or pressure), then the ones who lie.... and our friend here is one of the "ones who will".... Why make a fuss and suffer from a perfectly normal and natural situation...

Carol - April 21st, 2016 at 12:25pm

I drink lots of water and pee in my wet suit. In fact it's like I have to go. Plus it gives you a nice warm feeling when the water is cold.%uD83D%uDE1C

R mccrory - April 21st, 2016 at 2:41pm

Not in a dry suit. Interesting

DAN Medical Team - April 22nd, 2016 at 8:35am

Thanks for this string of comments and contributions! Pool hygiene issues aside - it is definitely better to urinate in the wetsuit than hold it in! Apart from the discomfort, irritation of the bladder and prostate, and increased chance of urinary infection, there is another danger: People often deliberately deny themselves fluids and dehydrate themselves to avoid urinating in their wetsuits. This is very, very unwise, as it increases the risk of decompression illness significantly. In fact, DAN is actively busy with a "More water less Bubbles" campaign to try to offset this tendency! We offer our apologies to pools and wetsuits in advance! Check it out on: http://www.dansa.org/more-water-less-bubbles.htm. Safe Diving! DAN Medical Team

Categories

 2018 (59)
 2016 (119)
After anaesthesia Air Quality Altitude sickness Ama divers Anaerobic Metabolism Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Arthroscopic surgery BCD Badages Bag valve mask Bandaids Barbell back squat Bench press Bouyancy compensators Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath hold Breath-hold Bruising Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CO2 Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Carbon dioxide Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Chemotherapy Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care Cold Conservation Contaminants Corals Cutaneous decompression DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Diseases Dive Chamber Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Research Dive accidents Dive computers Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Dive staff Diveleaders Diver Profile Divers Alert Diving Kids Diving career Diving emergencies Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Domestic Dr Rob Schneider Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits EAP Ear pressure Ears injuries Education Emergency plans Environmental impact Equipment care Exercise Eye injuries FAQ Fatigue First Aid Equipment First Aid Training First Aid kits Fish Fitness Francois Burman Free diving Freediver Gas laws Gastric bypass Gordon Hiles HELP Haemorhoid treatment Health practitioner Heart High temperatures Hot Hydrostatic pressure Hyperbaric Chamber Hypothermia Indian Ocean Inert gas Infections Instinct Instructors Integrated Physiology International travel International Irritation Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Life expectancy Lifestyle Low blood pressure Low volume masks Lung injuries MOD Maintenance Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical questionaire Medical statement Middle ear pressure Military front press Mono Fins More pressure Mycobacterium marinum Nitrox Non-rebreather Mask Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean pollution Orbital implants Oronasal mask Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deicit Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen supply Oxygen therapy P J Prinsloo PJP Tech Part 3 Plastic Pneumothorax Pool Diving Press Release Provider course Pulmanologist Pulmonary Bleb Purge RAID South Africa Radio communications Rashes Recompression Report incidents Rescue training Resume diving SABS 019 Safety Stop Safety Saturation Diving Save our seas Science Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Snorkels Sodwana Bay Splits Squeezes Supplemental oxygen Surgeries Surgery Tattoes Technical Diving The Bends The truth Thermal Notions Tides Travel tips Travel Tweezers Unconsciousness Underwater photographer Underwater pho Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Vasvagal Syncope Venting Washout treatments White balance Winter Wound dressings Wreck dive Youth diver abrasion air-cushioned alert diver altitude antibiotics antiseptics bandages bent-over barbell rows body art breathing air calories burn cardiovascular checklist chemo port child clearances closed circuit scuba currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits dry mucous membranes dry suits dry ear spaces elearning electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalizing exposure injuries flexible tubing health hospital humidity immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN knee longevity lower stress marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment minor illness mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic outgas pain plasters post dive preserve rebreather mask rebreathers risk areas saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections snorkeling. spearfishing stings strength sub-aquatic tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection training trimix unified standards warmers water quality