People often feel the urge to urinate while drinking alcohol. This can happen when the molecules in alcoholic beverages interact with the body. Alcohol can prevent the production of certain hormones, and this can increase people’s need to urinate.

“Breaking the seal” is a term people may use to indicate the first time a person urinates when drinking alcohol. People frequently need to go to the bathroom in the coming hours after “they have broken the seal.”

Alcohol is essentially a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production. Drinking high quantities of liquids can induce the kidneys to filter more fluids and get rid of them by making the body urinate more frequently.

This article explains whether breaking the seal is real, how alcohol can affect the bladder, and how people can manage their bladder while drinking.

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Doctors think “breaking the seal” is only a mental suggestion because people tend to notice they are urinating more often when drinking alcohol than when they are not. This is because alcoholic beverages act as diuretics.

Alcohol is a diuretic. It promotes water loss.

Alcohol is also capable of inhibiting the production of a hormone called vasopressin. Vasopressin is an antidiuretic. It regulates how kidneys reabsorb water instead of flushing it into the bladder.

When people drink alcohol, the brain is not producing vasopressin. So, the bladder is free to fill up with urine.

Alcohol is also a bladder irritant, hence the urgency to urinate.

Without vasopressin, the bladder fills up more rapidly than usual. This increases the frequency at which people drinking alcohol feel the need to urinate.

People typically pass more urine when drinking alcohol than other liquids due to its diuretic properties. This can increase the risk of dehydration.

While drinking alcohol, it is recommended to also drink water to reintegrate the liquids lost while repeatedly emptying the bladder.

Learn more about how alcohol affects the body.

There are not many things a person can do to prevent an increase in the need to urinate when drinking alcohol. The only option is to limit the amount of alcohol a person consumes.

Drinking in moderation plays an important role in reducing the amount of urine the body produces. It also prevents the risk of kidney damage.

Alcohol is a harmful substance to the body. The kidneys filter all the toxic substances circulating in the body through the bloodstream.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is defined as 1 drink per day for females and 2 drinks per day for males. The guide identifies the size of 1 standard drink as follows:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer with around 5% alcohol content
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor or distilled spirits (1 shot)

If a person drinks alcohol mixed with energy drinks or other beverages that contain caffeine, this may increase the frequency they need to urinate even further. Caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic and can increase the filling rate of the bladder.

Other tips that may help manage the need to urinate while drinking include:

  • avoiding drinks containing carbonation
  • choosing drinks with lower alcohol content, such as beer and wine, and avoiding liquor and cocktails
  • avoiding drinks mixed with coffee, energy drinks, and cola
  • avoiding drinks containing high quantities of sugar or cranberry juice

People should not hold in urine when they feel the urge to go to the bathroom. Holding in urine can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs).

It is also important to practice staying hydrated by drinking water alongside alcoholic beverages and especially afterward. Drinking alcohol can cause a significant loss of fluids in the body.

The concept of “breaking the seal” is not scientifically accurate. It is more of a psychological idea than a physiological fact.

Drinking alcohol can increase urination due to its diuretic effect and inhibition of the hormone vasopressin, which causes the bladder to fill more rapidly.

The urge to urinate does not significantly increase after the first instance of using the bathroom while drinking.

Alcoholic drinks containing caffeine, such as energy drinks and cola, can further increase the need to urinate due to caffeine’s diuretic effects.

To avoid UTIs, people should avoid holding in urine when the urge arises. People can also drink water alongside alcoholic beverages and afterward to prevent dehydration.