There’s no doubt that going to the bathroom after holding it for a long time is an enjoyable relief, but for some women it offers something even more pleasurable.
They’re called “peegasms,” a kind of full-body orgasmic feeling that some say they experience if they’ve been waiting a long time to go to the bathroom.
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Unsurprisingly, discussion of this phenomenon began on Reddit before making its way to more mainstream conversations.
“So my girlfriend recently told me if she’s had to hold her pee in for a while, when she actually goes to pee, she often has orgasms that she feels all the way up her spine to her head,” one Reddit user said. “If she does ‘reverse kegels’ while peeing, they’re even more likely to happen. She said these orgasms sometimes leave her lightheaded and off balance.”
Another user described the feeling as a “sensational whole body massage,” while others merely called it a “pleasant feeling.”
“This is something that’s floating around on the internet, but it’s certainly not a term we use in medical parlance or even colloquially,” says Dr. Dean Elterman, a urologic surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. “I don’t think one should conflate the feelings of relief from a full bladder and an orgasm.”
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However, he says, it is possible that women in particular could experience similar feelings in both events — and it has to do with their anatomy.
“The pelvic nerves are all intimately related and often branch off of common nerves. The same nerve roots in the bottom of the spinal cord, for example, branch out and some go to the bladder, the urethra and the clitoris,” he says. “Some women may get a similar sensation because they share nerves.”
In addition, both getting your rocks off and relieving yourself after having to hold it for a long time will activate similar parts of the brain that release dopamine, a feel-good chemical.
While being in a position where you’d have to wait an extended period of time to relieve yourself is natural, Elterman strongly advises against actively avoiding going to the bathroom when nature calls.
“Holding it in for too long can damage your bladder by stretching it out. If you chronically hold it, the bladder can get larger and the muscle can get thinner to the point where you can’t squeeze out the urine. People who chronically hold their urine end up with urinary retention.”
There’s also an increased risk of urinary tract infections and bladder infections, in addition to the psychological ramifications of actively avoiding the cues to go to the bathroom that your brain is sending you.
“You’re messing with the messages that get sent along to the bladder. There’s normally a good sensation of when you need to go, but if you’re ignoring it and not paying attention, those messages can stop working so well.”
If you happen to be in a scenario in which immediate relief isn’t possible, it’s not necessarily cause for concern, but making this a habit is not a good idea.
“There’s no doubt that relieving yourself after holding it for a long time is exactly that — a pleasurable relief,” Elterman says. “But the repetitive nature of holding it to achieve a ‘peegasm’ is a bad idea because of the dangers and harm you can do to yourself.”