Maybe you’re a busy parent juggling multiple tasks or someone who has just completed an intense workout and urgently needs to shower. Regardless of the reason, you might find yourself contemplating whether it’s acceptable to relieve yourself in the shower. After all, the prospect of exiting the shower, drying off, using the toilet, and then returning to the shower—especially with shampoo-covered hair—can seem like a lot of hassle. But are there any health risks associated with this practice? Let’s hear what experts have to say.
What’s Happening It comes as no surprise that some individuals choose to urinate in the shower. In fact, a significant number of people admit to doing so, with estimates ranging from 61% to 80% of individuals having engaged in this act at some point in their lives.
Do I Need to Worry? First and foremost, it’s essential to dispel a common misconception: urine is not sterile, contrary to popular belief. Consequently, it can potentially impact your health. Kandis Daroski, a pelvic health physical therapist at Hinge Health, explains that certain bacteria, including those responsible for urinary tract infections, can be present in urine. In theory, if you had an open wound and urinated in the shower, these bacteria could enter the wound and lead to an infection.
Daroski also cautions against exacerbating symptoms of urinary urgency, characterized by a sudden and strong need to urinate, as well as overactive bladder. For some individuals, the sound of running shower water could trigger these symptoms. “Continuing to pee in the shower because you have the sudden intense urge could create bad bladder habits, which can worsen your symptoms of urinary urgency,” she warns.
However, occasional urination in the shower is not cause for major concern, as Daroski emphasizes that infection is “very rare.”
A urologist, Dr. Fenwa Milhouse, also sees no significant health risks associated with shower urination and even views it as an environmentally friendly choice. She asserts, “There are no health risks to peeing in the shower. It is completely safe for the urinater to pee in the shower, and it saves toilet bowl water used to flush the toilet.”
What Can I Do About It? Before stepping into the shower, Daroski recommends taking a moment to assess your true need or urge to urinate. She suggests taking a few deep breaths and evaluating your urgency level on a scale, with 1 representing mild urgency and 3 indicating an urgent need. If you find yourself at a level 3, it’s advisable to use the toilet. However, if your urgency is at a level 1 or 2, Daroski offers several strategies to help you “hold it,” such as performing five quick Kegel exercises, holding a Kegel contraction for five seconds, taking three deep belly breaths, or distracting yourself by focusing on something else.
Dr. Milhouse adds that individuals who find it challenging to urinate while standing in the shower should refrain from doing so and instead wait until they can sit on the toilet. This position allows for a more relaxed pelvic floor.
What if You Share a Shower? If you share a shower with someone else and are contemplating whether it’s courteous to urinate in the shower, communication is essential. While it’s likely that the other person won’t mind, Daroski advises asking out of respect.
From a health perspective, the individuals sharing your household are unlikely to face significant risks. Dr. Milhouse acknowledges the possibility of some bacteria remaining in the shower but notes that it is highly improbable to affect the health of your showermate unless they have an open cut on the sole of their foot.
The Main Takeaway In conclusion, urinating in the shower is generally considered acceptable, and experts do not foresee any major health problems arising from this practice. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to discuss the matter with others who also use the same shower, out of respect for their preferences.