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Why does running water give you the urge to urinate?

“Do you know why running water gives one an urge to urinate?”

A member asked that question in “Skull & Bones,” and I had to admit, I didn’t know. I chalked it up to just one of those simple mysteries, like why a yawn prompts another person to yawn.

Then I asked you if anyone else had a theory. And the theories came pouring in…

Bog: “Just guessing here but…. warm water = mothers womb? We had permission to pee there.”

Clyde: “I’m from an old German family. My mother told me they poured water over the privates at bed time to make us urinate so we would not wet the bed. The sound of running water is still effective at age 77.”

Jean: “The sound of water can signal the human body to urinate. That is how diaperless babies in India and Africa (and all babies if given a chance) respond by urinating on cue, to the mother making sshhing sound in the baby’s ear.”

Anita: “I’ve attributed the need to ‘head to the bathroom’ every time I hear running water to the fact that my mother was a nurse who prided herself on the fact that I was toilet-trained by the time I was 9 months old! She told me she took me to the bathroom every two hours, sat me on the potty, and ran the water in the sink until I ‘went’! I still can’t start the dishes without having to ‘go’ beforehand.”

Probably the closest to a real theory comes from JKS: “The yawning response is caused by our mirror neurons in the brain that cause us also to smile when we see someone smile, even babies do this. Could the urge to urinate also be caused by some very primitive ‘preset’ neurons that when we see or hear water we have the urge to ‘mimic’ the sound? That is my theory. See if others agree with more expertise in the area of brain function.”

The “mirror neuron” theory–I like it! Although it does seem outnumbered by the “mother wanting me to go when she said” theories.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson



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