As college students, we are constantly inundated with new knowledge. It can be useful, thought-provoking, or crammed into our head on a Starbucks-fueled binge several hours before an exam. However, very rarely do we question the validity of all this new knowledge (unless you take philosophy classes, then you’ll question away).
That’s where College Candy comes in. We’re not going to debate whether or not the Theory of Relativity actually exists (a disappointment, I know, but I’m a communications major and stopped taking science classes after Baby Bio fresh year). However, we are here to thoroughly investigate the most widespread college knowledge (no, not rhyming)—the myth.
One of the most well known and deeply feared college myths are three little words: breaking the seal. As defined by the most elite source of definitions, Urban Dictionary, breaking the seal is “The point at which you first piss after you have been drinking your favorite alcoholic beverage and at this point you will be pissing every ten minutes.”
We’ve all been there. Enjoying a lively round (or 6) of flip cup when all of a sudden, your bladder reminds you that it has a maximum capacity. You try to discreetly excuse yourself to visit the ladies room, but your concerned besties remind you—very loudly—that you can’t break the seal!
So this seal we all desperately protect, does it actually exist? Or is it possible that it’s simply an alcohol-fueled figment of our imagination? I’ve enlisted a panel of urological experts (read: my boyfriend in med school and Google) to figure out if this phenomenon is real.
Apparently, the more jello shots, Natty Lite or vodka tonics you consume, the higher your Blood Alcohol Level (I know, who’d have thunk?) Anywho, all that warm and fuzzy ethanol flooding your system affects certain hormones that your brain produces, like the must “dance now” and “sexy-time” hormones, as well as a hormone called ADH (an anti-diuretic hormone), which helps your body retain water by controlling the amount of urine you make.
Alcohol inhibits ADH, so the more you drink, the more you’ll have to pee. Also, in case you never caught on, alcohol is usually a liquid, and the more liquid you intake, the more you will expel. Breaking the seal has nothing to do with the amount that you’re gonna pee afterward, nor how often nature will call. And if you don’t “break the seal” you will still feel a need to pee anyway, so it’s all sorta the same thing, right?
I know it’s heartbreaking to realize that there is no magical seal built by your first 5 beers, but on the bright side, you won’t feel a twinge of guilt if you decide not to risk a UTI by holding out.
So, the moral of the story is that if you gotta go, you gotta go! Don’t bother holding it, because the more you drink, the more urine your body will produce, and the more frequent your bathroom excursions will be. The best advice I can give you is to re-fill your cup before waiting in line for the bathroom. You won’t waste precious binge-drinking minutes and once you reach the bathroom you’ll kill two birds with one stone. Cheers!