Medical FAQ

By Devyn Bernal – August 1, 2016

To pee, or not to pee?

This month we sat down with Dr. Richard Chopp of the Urology Team and asked about a taboo topic. But with over 35 years of experience in Austin, Dr. Chopp is one of the ultimate urology experts. Plus, we couldn’t hold our burning questions in any longer. 

What is the most commonly found issue that flows through your office?

Having both female and male urologists here, our female doctors tend to see urinary tract infections (UTI) and urinary incontinence issues. For males, we see men who may be dehydrated and tend to have prostate issues. We also see a lot of [kidney] stones because this part of the country is very warm, even more so in the summer. Those who are active, especially outside, burn up a lot of fluid keeping our bodies cool, and if you don’t make up for that lack of hydration, you can contract stones as a result. 

On average, how many times a day does a healthy person urinate?

In a 24-hour period, a healthy person probably urinates six to seven times, but it depends on how active you are. If you’re being a slug sitting in front of a TV all day long, you’ll probably only get up to use the bathroom three or four times. If you run or ride a bike for a long distance, it could be eight to ten times. It depends on your activity level. 

Alcohol can also be a key factor in using the bathroom more. Adult beverages inhibit an anti-diuretic hormone, meaning your body will urinate more than it would normally if you didn’t have any alcohol. Also, when you drink alcohol, it’s an extra fluid load that your body doesn’t need, so it simply gets rid of the waste. For caffeine fiends, it won’t necessarily affect the amount of times you pee, but it can irritate the lining of a prostate or bladder for some people. Yet most people never experience that discomfort at all.

How relative is the color of your urine to activity level?

Simply put, we need to have enough fluid intake every day to run normal bodily functions. A very standard rule, especially in the heat of summer, is to have nearly clear pee most of the time. Now how many glasses of water does that equal? It depends on how big or small of a person you are. Just be sure to take in as much if not more fluids than you’re putting out in rigorous activity. If you do that, you’re in a good state of hydration, and your urine will show it.

Is it safe to continue working out when you contract a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

Generally, yes. However, if you notice the infection gets worse, it’s best to hold off on exercise and let your doctor know. 

What is the best way to maintain good urologic health?

Staying hydrated covers a lot of the sins we go through day in and day out. Make sure you’re drinking the right amount of water for your body type and temperature. I also recommend a healthy multivitamin every day as it is good across the board. And don’t stress about holding it in when you have to go; that’s more of folklore, and it doesn’t really make any sense in the [medical] world. You can finish your race or competition without taking precious time for a bathroom, unless you simply can’t handle a full bladder. 


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