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Is There a Way to Stay Hydrated Without Needing to Pee Every 10 Minutes?

You could, y’know, just drink less water

For some reason, it seems I’ve established myself as MEL’s go-to writer for all things about needing to pee a lot. I pee about once an hour during the waking day, once a night and as soon as I wake up in the morning, just to set the baseline, here. I’m fine with spending a solid fraction of my day peeing, but I have to wonder, is there any alternative? 

Obviously, I could drink less water. 

In my mind, though, drinking less water means being less hydrated. The thing is, that’s only partially true. 

Your body may not use all of the water you consume. Exactly how much water your body uses for sweat, saliva and other bodily functions will depend on your activity level and climate. People who work outdoors in a hot environment, for example, will need to consume more water than someone who sits at a climate-controlled desk. What you don’t use for things like sweating comes out as pee, which also works to clear your kidneys of waste. This will manifest in the color of your pee — if you’re like me and you pee every hour, your pee will probably be nearly the color of water. If you consume less water, your pee will be darker because it contains a higher concentration of your kidney waste. 

That’s not to say having yellow pee is in any way abnormal. Particularly dark pee might be a sign of dehydration, but your pee color can also depend upon the color of the foods and beverages you consume. 

The science surrounding how much water you should drink per day is mixed. The 8×8 rule, where you drink 8 ounces of water 8 times per day totaling 64 ounces, is often set as a general guideline. But according to a 2002 study in the American Journal of Physiology, there’s little evidence to support this number. Odds are, we’d be fine with less. Further, there’s no clear indication of whether other beverages like coffee, soda and alcohol count toward this number. We’re really just making shit up out here, I guess. 

A better indication of how much you, as an individual, should drink is how thirsty you are. If you’re thirsty, your body is sending signals to your brain that it needs more water to do its thing. While coffee and soda aren’t the best choices for hydration, both will provide your body with usable water, despite the diuretic effects of caffeine. Water is simply the preferred hydrator among doctors and nutrition folks because it does what it’s supposed to do without any calories or sugar. 

With the exception of alcohol, which causes you to pee more by suppressing a particular hormone, whatever you’re drinking will probably hydrate you and make you need to pee equally. Per Medical News Today, the average person pees six to seven times a day, regardless of their choice of beverage. Peeing between four and ten times a day is considered normal. While medications and bladder issues can cause you to pee more frequently, the biggest factor in how often you pee is simply how much liquid you consume

If you want to pee less frequently but don’t suspect you have some underlying condition causing a problem, the only real way to cut back on the trips to the bathroom is just to consume fewer fluids. Instead of keeping a bottle of water next to you all the time, try only consuming beverages with meals and otherwise only drinking when you feel thirsty for a few days. 

I really honestly don’t know what the fuck else to tell you. Personally, I love to pee! Having to stop working to pee every hour? That’s anti-capitalist praxis, baby.