Long movies and the urge to urinate have been related since the beginning of cinema. Sixty-three years before Avengers: Endgame and its three-hour runtime, moviegoers settled in for nearly four hours of the Ten Commandments.
“there will be an intermission”, director cecil b. demille announced during the presentation of the film. and the audience’s bladders eased.
On average, movies don’t run long, but they don’t come with a predetermined bathroom break, either. That means when nature calls, you have to sit back with mounting discomfort or gamble on the best time to go to the bathroom. but it doesn’t have to be that way, and for most people, setting your body to “do not disturb” is pretty simple.
go before the show
The first tip is also the easiest: pee before the movie starts.
Healthy adults typically urinate every 3-4 hours, so the longer a movie is shown, the more urgent it becomes to reset your internal clock to urinate as close to the opening scene as possible.
“The voiding principle is going to be helpful because the less urine there is when you walk in, the less there will be at the end of the movie,” said Dr. derek fine, associate professor of medicine at johns hopkins university.
Even if your body seems stuck in a urinary rut, adjusting it a bit before watching a movie won’t get you out of control.
“Changing your routine for that day won’t change your bladder capacity or your bladder habits,” said dr. ladin yurteri-kaplan, a urogynecologist at columbia university irving medical center.
That doesn’t mean you should always play it safe and relieve yourself on the spur of the moment, as your body may eventually fall into a new pattern, but sporadic schedule changes should be fine, doctors said.
don’t drink too much
Handling food and drinks is a bit more complicated. obviously, if you don’t want to urinate, you should avoid liquids. And unless it’s on the list of the longest films ever made, topped by the 35-day experimental arthouse logistics, chances are you’re not going to die of dehydration during a screening.
“the more you enter, the more you generate,” said yurteri-kaplan. “It is directly related to fluid intake.”
But for many, eating and drinking at the theater is part of the experience. And even if you’re not popping popcorn in your face while drinking that 15-soda mix you made at the drink machine, you probably had some in the hours leading up to the show.
What you put in your body is important. caffeine, carbonation, alcohol, and acidity are particularly problematic. they are diuretics that make you urinate more or bladder irritants that make you feel the urge sooner than normal.
“it’s probably a good idea to avoid caffeinated beverages at the snack counter,” said dr. Leslie Rickey, associate professor of urology and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.
Salt, known to soak up water, doesn’t help either, and may actually make things worse. For one thing, the more salt you eat, the thirstier you are, so you’re likely to drink more. Even if you’re resisting the urge to quench your thirst, the salt is still inside you, drawing water from your cells to make up for what you’re not drinking. therefore, people with diets high in sodium tend to urinate more because of the excess water inside them.
there is an app for this
Sometimes, though, peeing is unavoidable, but technology is here to help. runpee, a free download with in-app purchases, offers recommended and emergency pee times for movies playing in theaters. it will tell you the approximate duration of the break you can take and will tell you when to leave.
for example, in avengers: infinity war, the app’s recommended first break is 53 minutes when thanos says to someone (name redacted by app to avoid spoilers), “I like you”, and then disappears. runpee has determined that the four minutes after that line can be skipped.
While it’s free to watch peeing hours of movies that have been in theaters for a while, that information will cost you for new releases. If you want to register on the day of a movie premiere, you will have to spend Peecoins, which can be acquired by watching video ads or by spending real money. Signing up also gets you two free peecoins.
Ultimately, the more you plan your trip to the movies, the better off you’ll be.
“don’t wait until the last minute because you’re going to run out of toilets trying to find a toilet,” yurteri-kaplan said. “And in the end, the bladder tends to win.”