Is There Any Truth to the Breaking the Seal Myth?


You know that phenomenon that occurs when you’re out for funtinis with your girls (that’s code for staying home on a Friday night to drink jug wine and shout at your television — DAMN YOU, DATELINE) and you go for several rounds of drinks without needing to use the bathroom, but, once you finally do, you can’t stop feeling like you have to pee every three minutes? Well, this is often referred to as “breaking the seal” and it’s totally in your head…or is it? (It is.) (Is it?) (I’m drunk now.)

While it might seem like your initial drunken pee is what triggers you to feel like you need to hit the head more frequently, there is no physiological evidence that this is true. What’s far more likely is that your ass is getting drunk, causing you to imbibe booze with wild abandon. And not only are you taking in more fluid, but alcohol also suppresses an anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) called vasopressin, which is what regulates water in the kidneys. (Fun fact: It’s the release of ADH that prevents your bladder from waking you up several times throughout the night.) (Less fun fact: Drinking does terrible things to your body.)

“[Alcohol] decreases your ADH and you are producing more fluid. So when you produce more fluid and you fill your bladder more, you suppress more ADH,” says Dr. Courtenay Moore, a urologist at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Furthermore, alcohol — again, very bad for the body — irritates the bladder and will make it feel uncomfortably full even if it isn’t.

So no, you don’t have to pee more just because you “broke the seal,” but, yes, you are peeing more often. Good news, though — the bar you’re at only has only one single stall restroom and it’s definitely disgusting.

A happy hour urban myth: Is ‘breaking the seal’ a real thing? [NBC News]

Image via Aleksei Smolensky/Shutterstock.

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