One of the thorniest issue many divers and freedivers are embarrassed to discuss. Thus, let us take liberty of destroying myths and opening the veil of secrecy of this process. Very natural process by the way, so there is a spoiler – we support pee with no regrets.
There is a well-known expression in the diving community:
“There are those who pee in a wetsuit, and those who say they do not pee.”
Sure, no one can say with 100% of confidence whether it is true or not and still there are many misconceptions about physiology that we would like to clarify.
Drink less water before diving to avoid peeing in the wetsuit
In no case is it recommended to dive in being dehydrated! In diving, dehydration increases the likelihood of decompression sickness. In freediving, dehydration and thickening of the blood reduces the oxygen capacity of the blood. Dehydration also leads to headaches and complicates equalization. It is really harmful and dangerous practice, so never try to avoid drinking water before your diving/freediving session. Moreover, having a bottle of fresh water at the buoy and drinking at least several sips after each dive can be a very useful habit, which helps you to feel good during your dives.
We lose a lot of liquid from the body while diving, because our bodies naturally tend to produce urine when immersed in water. This physiological effect is called immersion diuresis. Peripheral vasoconstriction is activated in the body when you descend into water that is colder than the ambient temperature. Redistribution of blood from the limbs to the central organs and the pulmonary circulation occurs. Your body interprets this as an overload of fluid in the body. The kidneys receive a signal about the production of urine to get rid of excess fluid and your brain says that it’s time to empty the bladder. So the desire to write while diving is a natural physiological need.
One more reason to drink water is when the body is dehydrated urine has a stronger smell and color. So do a favor for yourself and others – drink more water!
I can hold out a little longer
Fighting urination can lead to infection of the urinary tract or bladder, especially in women. This is an extremely painful condition. After all, you would not want to engage in treatment, being somewhere in remote places of the planet, where doctors and necessary medicines may not be available.
In addition, it is very difficult to relax and prepare well for a dive with a full bladder. In this case, there can be no talk of any comfortable diving and unity with the ocean. So relax and answer the call of nature!
Urine can damage the wetsuit
Urine won’t ruin your wetsuit and it won’t stick out. However, it is obvious that after use the suit must be thoroughly washed. Although urine does not damage it, a dirty unwashed wetsuit can cause a skin condition similar to dermatitis. Well, it just smells bad.
Urination helps keep you warm
Another myth we would like to break is now from the other side: quite often supporters of peeing can describe how urinating while diving can make a cold dive much warmer. Unfortunately, these effects are temporary and counterproductive.
Warm urine leads your body astray that you are no longer in a cold environment. Therefore, when fresh cold water enters your suit again your body is not ready. Now you feel even colder than before and your body must expend additional energy to heat this cold water again. So don’t put much hope on this way to keep warm, it won’t work.
Now after we’ve covered some of the myths and misconceptions, let’s talk about some of the methods and recommendations associated with urinating while diving to make it more comfortable and clean.
- Always flush! Don’t wait until you reach the beach or boat. Pull off the wetsuit around your neck and arms to rinse it with water as much as possible. In this regard freedivers’ separate wetsuits are much more convenient than single-piece wetsuits. You can simply sail away from the buoy, unfasten your jacket and pull off the top of your pants a little. After peeing out you can easily fasten everything back and return to the buoy.
- Try to make work done at the beginning of a scuba dive or at the beginning of a session on a buoy if you are freediver. Don’t endure waiting for the end. This will give more opportunity and time for flushing urine from a wetsuit.
- Avoid foods that make urine extra-odorous, such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, onions, garlic and salmon.
- Rinse your suit well after every dive! You can add an antiseptic to water, for example, Detol. If the suit still has a specific smell you can use special detergents for wetsuits which are sold in diving equipment stores. Or maybe it’s just time to buy a new suit?
Always enjoy your time in water, do whatever you need to be comfortable and relax!