Did you ever notice that there is never a bathroom around when you need it? If you are a constant pee-er, you know all too well the struggle of needing to relieve yourself at the worst times.
There are also times when you’ve been holding it after a long commute, or when you’ve almost reached your destination during a long road trip. This sensation isn’t just a thing, it’s a common problem and it has a name…
This phenomenon, known as “latchkey incontinence,” occurs because a situational cue — in this case, arriving home and putting your key in the door — triggers the need to pee.
It’s more common in people with overactive bladder and urgent urinary incontinence, but it can happen to anyone. As is the case with hearing the sound of running water or being in cold weather, there’s just something about home that makes us have to pee.
THE BRAIN TELLS YOUR BLADDER WHEN IT’S OK TO PEE
The mind and body are deeply connected and the two work in tandem to govern many body functions, including hunger, sleepiness and — you guessed it — urination.
The brain and bladder communicate throughout the day to ensure we are peeing when it’s appropriate, explains a urology obstetrics and gynecology doctor…
When, for example, we’re in the middle of a long car ride with no rest stops in sight, the brain essentially tells the bladder to lay low until a bathroom is nearby.
“The brain sends signals to the bladder, telling it when and when not to contract.” But, when you are close to a bathroom, your brain starts to pull back and all hell breaks out! Relief is in sight, and that’s all your brain can think about.
YOU CAN TRAIN YOUR BRAIN AND BLADDER!
The more we adhere to certain behaviours, the stronger the association will be. “The more you go to this place where you’re arriving at home and having to go to the bathroom immediately, the more that pattern is going to start to develop,” the doc said. Research has likened it to a Pavlovian response: You essentially teach your brain it’s time to pee when you see your front door.
HOME IS COMFORT
A 2020 study suggests that home provides a feeling of safety and comfort for many. People often feel more comfortable going to the bathroom in a place that’s familiar compared to a public restroom that may be unsanitary, inaccessible or unsafe.