Is it OK to Pee in Your Pool?

It is a scientifically proven fact that when we get into a pool, the urge to pee will increase substantially, and I think we can all attest to that. In fact, I am pretty confident that most of you who are reading this are guilty of doing the deed. But is it really OK to pee in your pool?

Peeing in your pool is not OK. Uric Acid in your pee can interact with the chlorine in the pool and create Trichloramine and Cyanogen Chloride in liquid and vapor form. These chemicals can be very harmful, causing respiratory problems and severe skin and eye irritation.

Those are not my words, this topic, as weird as it might be, has been widely researched. There is even a study by the CDC, that drew the same conclusions.

Let’s look briefly look at some studies and find out why we feel the urge to pee in the pool, what the dangers are and what we can do to stop people from peeing in the pool.

Why Do I Feel the Urge to Pee When I Swim?

Essentially, there are two reasons we feel the urge to pee when we swim.

  1. The effect of low gravity in the water.
  2. The effect of lower temperature in the water.

1. How the effect of low gravity in pool water makes you want to pee.

When we are in a swimming pool, gravity has much less of an effect on our bodies and we are basically experiencing weightlessness to some degree.

The effect of weightlessness means that blood is no longer pulled down to our legs and is more equally distributed in higher regions like our torso. Our bodies can detect this increase in blood volume and because it is not used to it, it thinks that our blood pressure has increased. Our bodies’ mechanism to control blood pressure is triggered, and one of those mechanisms that lower blood pressure is to release body fluids or to pee.

In addition to that, floating in water is incredibly relaxing, which is great! The problem is that being that relaxed will, of course, make it much easier to pee.

2. How the effect of low-temperature pool water makes you want to pee.

This effect is part of the same mechanism triggered by low gravity.

The cold water will cause the blood vessels to constrict, forcing more blood to be directed to your torso. This is a natural mechanism in your body that helps you to conserve heat. Now, that there is more blood in your torso, your body’s mechanism to manage blood pressure will trigger the urge to pee so that there is less volume of fluid, lowering your blood pressure.

You really shouldn’t feel embarrassed that you have the urge to pee every five minutes when you’re swimming. As a matter of fact, if you see someone swimming for a prolonged period of time without getting out and going for a pee, it is pretty much a guarantee that they have relieved themselves into your pool!

But how bad can one person’s pee be when it’s so diluted in thousands of gallons of water? Well, you’re missing the point here, let’s look at the facts next.

Why is it Bad to Pee in Your Pool?

For some reason, peeing in a pool has become somewhat accepted, or at least ignored. Sometimes it is even regarded as hilarious! But the truth is, this is actually a serious issue.

Uric acid (along with other substances like amino acids) in urine react with the chlorine in your pool. This reaction produces two chemicals, trichloramine, and cyanogen chloride. Cyanogen chloride is the most dangerous out of the two. In fact, it is toxic to humans.

When Cyanogen Chloride is formed in the pool water it will be in liquid and vapor form. This means it can be absorbed into the skin, swallowed and inhaled. This is what that chlorine smell is when you are in or near a crowded pool. The fact that you are smelling this alone means that the water has high urine content!

All of us who have ever peed in the pool no doubt have justified it in our own minds as being OK. After all, how bad can a few ounces of pee in thousands of gallons of water really be?

Well, if you have that line of thinking, then you can bet your kidney that everyone else is thinking the same thing.

Sure, if only one single person pees in a large pool, it will have little to no effect on the water. The problem is that if everyone thinks it’s okay to pee in the pool, we are dealing with a much more substantial amount of urine.

Each time the average person pees, they will release 1-2 cups of urine in one go and does so every around 3.5 hours

Let’s say you are having a pool party, and there are 8 people just hanging out in the pool, sipping on Pina Coladas and only 4 of them are “pool-pee’ers”. They are in the pool for 5 hours, meaning they will each have peed twice.

Now you have 4 people, peeing in your pool twice, each time releasing 1.5 cups of pee.

4 swimmers x 1.5 cups of pee x 2 = 12 cups of pee.

12 cups of pee is no joke. That’s around 8.5 fluid ounces of pee.

Double that to 24 cups of pee if everyone adopts the “It’s OK to pee in the pool thinking”.

These are realistic figures, and I hope it’s enough to make you reconsider going to the toilet the next time you feel like peeing in the pool.

How Can I Stop People From Peeing In My Pool?

Unfortunately, unlike Hollywood has led us to believe, there is no chemical that we can add to our pools that changes color when someone pees in a pool. Urine indicating dye for pools is a myth!

Here are some smart ways to stop people from peeing in your pool:

  • Lead by example. Say something like “Damnit, I need a pee” then get out and go to the toilet. This will make it clear that you do not want people peeing in your pool.
  • Suggest an out of pool activity every hour or so. This is an effective way to encourage toilet breaks without having that awkward conversation with them.
  • Teach your kids to have a toilet break before they jump in. Be sure to pull them out of the water every hour for a toilet break, snack, and sunscreen.
  • Put up a sign! If you don’t want it to be awkward, make it funny. There are countless jokes you could use to break the ice and get the message across.
  • Call everyone’s bluff and tell them that your pool is treated with urine-indicating dye, and the culprit will immediately be exposed if they dare to pee in the pool. Even though urine indicating dye is a myth, it doesn’t mean everyone knows that it is! That fear of embarrassment might be enough to get them to get out when they need a pee.

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