Updated: Feb 13
Have you ever noticed your undies got damp just after you got off the toilet?
Maybe it's not just occasionally, but regularly?
Have you wondered if maybe you didn't wipe properly?
Have you wondered if your toilet paper isn't absorbing when you wipe, and you should try a different brand?
It seems like an odd time to leak urine, especially if you don't have any leaks at other times. Why on earth would a person only leak when their bladder just got emptied? It's actually not so unusual, and since human bodies are complicated, there are several possible reasons for a small amount of dampness after urinating.
Here I present two common causes and some simple solutions. And we do want solutions, because having damp undies can lead to sore skin, and a fear of smelling like pee.
One explanation for the strangely timed dampness relates to the position of things on the inside, and one relates to the position of things on the outside.
Enough of the vague hints, on with the answers!
A Kink in the Tubing
The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside is called the urethra. Sometimes, due to a change in position of the organs inside the pelvis, the urethra can end up in a position that lets a little bit of urine stay inside, close to the exit, after a person has finished urinating.
When the person stands up, the position of the urethra changes, and that last drop emerges.
Simple solution 1: after you finish urinating but before wiping, do a couple of squeezes of your pelvic floor muscles. This ensures better closure of the urinary sphincter, and may cause enough movement to empty out any hidden drops.
Simple solution 2: after you urinate and wipe, stand up... then wipe again. It does add an extra step to the procedure, but it's better than damp undies.
Longer-term solutions: commit to your pelvic floor exercises! A stronger pelvic floor can help keep organs in alignment and prevent problems. If the issue is bothering you or seems to be getting worse, consider seeking an assessment with a pelvic health physio for a solution tailored to you.
A Wee Reservoir
There is quite a bit of soft tissue surrounding the urethral opening. We have two layers of labia - the inner set are usually thinner and longer, while the outer set are usually fleshy mounds. These are what people often call lips or flaps.
Here's the thing: the labia surround and cover the point where the urine emerges.
In ancient times, when humans squatted to pee, the labia naturally were more separated in that position than they are when we sit on a modern toilet. On a toilet, our knees don't go as high and our thighs don't go as far apart. Both these things combine to increase the chance of some urine staying between the labia instead of getting all the way to the surface.
When we wipe, the paper typically passes over the outside of the labia. So we don't collect this hidden urine when we wipe
Then we stand up and move, the urine finally finds its way to the outside.
I want to point out that deliberately pushing toilet paper between the labia to get this urine might not be good idea. The tissues are delicate, and wiping those inner surfaces could cause irritation. (Irritation walks hand in hand with urinary tract infections, so we don't want that!)
Simple solution: sit on the toilet with your knees wider apart. You may need to experiment with positioning your butt cheeks a bit further apart on the seat. Be gentle with yourself, there shouldn't be any overstretching going on here! The point here is to have more room for the labia to let the urine pass. Afterwards, you should just be wiping over the outside surface as you normally would.
One Extra Possibility
It's also possible that the moisture is not urine. It could be vaginal secretions that find their way out due to gravity and movement during and after you go to the toilet. It can be quite tricky to tell which is which!
The cheat's guide to figuring it out: you know how vitamin B tablets make your urine bright yellow? You can use that to tell whether the moisture is actually urine (it will be yellower) or vaginal secretions (which won't change colour like urine).
(Obviously you should only try this if taking the supplement is suitable for your health situation.)
It takes such a tiny amount of urine to make undies feel damp! Such a tiny amount, but so very annoying. I hope these tips prevent a little bit of dampness in the world.
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