I'm sure this situation sounds very familiar to you: You're out with your friends drinking. You have one drink and then another, and over time you start to feel like you have to pee. You go to the bathroom and come back, continuing to drink, but it seems like 15 minutes later, you need to pee again! And you CAN'T hold it. You need to go. You hate it, but you're breaking the seal.

People always say, "oh no, you broke the seal!" But is that a real thing? Nobody seems to know why exactly we have to pee so much during a night of drinking, so I thought I'd take it into my own hands and do some intense research. (You can thank me later.)

Why does it happen?

So the science behind it is all due to a hormone called arginine vasopressin, also known as antidiuretic hormone or ADH. ADH is made in the part of your brain called the hypothalamus, then stored and released from the pituitary gland. Its job is to conserve water by reducing its loss in urine. It promotes water reabsorption and decreases the volume of it sent to the bladder.

Alcohol blocks certain nerve channels that help get ADH into your system. Without ADH conserving water, the water ends up getting dumped into urine to leave the body. This fills the bladder quickly and makes you have to pee way more often. 

But why can't you stop peeing?

So why is it that when you first pee you can't stop? It takes a little bit of time for alcohol to suppress ADH and as you continue to drink, your ADH levels drop and your urine production increases. By the time you finally go to the bathroom, your ADH is more suppressed and you're going to have to go more often.

On top of that, some alcoholic beverages can be a bladder irritant and the carbonation of some drinks can cause pressure that contributes to this irritation. All the irritation in your bladder can create an even stronger urge to pee.

Can you do anything to stop it?

So, you may be wondering, is there a way to prevent breaking the seal? Is there a way to not have to constantly hobble over to the bathroom and potentially wait in a long line (and potentially need to unclip/clip your bodysuit which trust me, is a struggle)?

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do. If you're drinking, you'll be peeing. The most you can do is hold that first pee as LONG as possible, which isn't particularly healthy. 


A hormone in your body that stops you from peeing so much is suppressed when drinking alcohol, making you pee more often. There you have it! Life's biggest mystery revealed.