You go for a walk in the park on a cold winter morning when it hits you – you need to find a bathroom, and fast! That didn’t happen in the summer.
Is there anything in the winter that we need to pee more?
We study the bladder and lower urinary tract. Here are two main explanations of what’s going on.
1. Our lifestyle is changing
In the summer we live outside and more active. We sweat more (lose heat) and if we don’t drink enough water, we easily dehydrate.
This affects the amount of free fluid that our body is willing to excrete, and the volume of urine often decreases.
In winter, we are often indoors, close to water sources, so we are more likely to be hydrated, less active and less sweating. As such, we tend to have more free fluid to be excreted in the urine.
2. Our body wants to avoid excessive heat loss
If we get cold very quickly, the body protects our internal organs in many ways.
One of them is “cold-induced diuresis” or an increase in urinary excretion in response to cold.
Initially, blood is drained away from the skin to prevent heat loss to the outside air. This means that more blood flows through your internal organs.
In particular, blood flows into your kidneys in larger volumes and under higher pressure. This increases the amount the kidneys need to filter. As a result, your urinary excretion rate increases.
What should I do?
Our diet, age, blood pressure and personal situations can affect how much we urinate.
Producing more urine may also be a sign of hypothermia. This is your body responding to the cold like a stressor, so act fast. Find a place away from the cold and slowly warm your body.
If increased urine is also accompanied by other symptoms such as severe chills, difficulty breathing or confusion, seek medical attention immediately.
Observe fluids even in winter
If you are out in the cold, you don’t have to feel thirsty. However, make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the day. While it may be tempting to avoid drinking so you don’t have to rush to the toilet all the time, it can lead to dehydration.
If you are often out in the cold in light equipment and find that it increases your urine output, it can have long-term effects.
Frequent urination can be detrimental to your body’s natural salt balance (especially sodium and potassium). So pay attention to a healthy diet.
It looks like a bit of a balancing game. However, the key is not to burden your body in this way when it is cold. To do this, don’t forget to dress properly and keep warm.
What if you don’t notice the difference?
Although your body has mechanisms to make you urinate more in the cold, not everyone pays more pee in the winter.
If you keep warm, there is no reason to think that your body will often be “shocked” by reacting to low temperatures.
In fact, when observed in research studies, it was common for researchers to find no difference in urine output between seasons.
And what about urine?
It’s not just the volume of urine that can be different in the winter. The composition may also change.
In winter, the body excretes more calcium in the urine.
This is probably due to the cold season lifestyle rather than anything indoor. In the winter we tend to be less active, gain weight and eat more salty, canned and processed foods.
This means that sensitive people may be at higher risk of developing kidney stones in the winter.
So as the weather cools, take care of a healthy lifestyle, stay warm and don’t forget to hydrate even when it’s cold.
Why do I still have cold hands and feet? And when should I worry?
Provided by The Conversation
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