Fish and amphibians get rid of wastes in the form of ammonia, bypassing its toxicity because of the ample amounts of water available to dilute it. Birds have access to little water, so their urine is expelled with feces in the form of uric acid, a white paste. Mammals convert nitrogenous waste into urea, which is diluted and expelled as urine, a mildly diluted waste product. That is because mammals have some access to water, but not as much as fish in their respective environments.

     The pressure from blood is what forces water and small solutes out of the glomerulus, through the epithelial cells and into the nephron. Without the blood pressure, solutes could never filter through the Bowman's capsule, and would accumulate in the blood, rising to dangerous levels. The leaky capillaries of the glomerulus and podocytes of the Bowman's capsule are the filters of the nephron, allowing waer and small solutes to pass through and blocking blood cells and large molecules from entry into the nephron. The podocytes make up the inner layer of the Bowman's capsule and allow solutes such as salts, glucose, vitamins, water and urea to enter and become the filtrate. That filtrate, after a little trip through the Loop of Henle, ultimately becomes urine...Interesting eh?

Suggested titles:
"To Sit or Not to Sit—that is the Question"
"A Cleaner Bathroom"
"Boycott Macho Bullshit: Pee Sitting Down"
"A Myth about Peeing? (How not to Myth)"

It seems that there is a lot of misinformation and folklore circulating about how men should urinate. In an internet article (now removed) one author contended that it was impossible for a man to completely empty his bladder while he is in a sitting position. The article went on to contend that this was the single biggest cause of prostatitis.

Since the article gave no references (and the author simply cited "my doctor told me"), I thought it would be useful to research this.

I discussed this physiological conundrum with no fewer than nine nurses, four physicians, two pre-medical students and an anatomist. Without a single exception, every one of them dismissed this as nonsense (the "my doctor told me" was met with an amused "He'd better find a new doctor"). Very simply put, the position of sitting versus standing does not bear on the man's ability to void his bladder. A man may sit, stand, squat, kneel, or stand on his head and still empty his bladder efficiently (although I'm not so sure about the standing on the head thing, really. And it sounds messy. Better to stick to the more conventional methods, really.)

There is a (tangentially) related myth that European parents (and you may feel free to make whatever "you're a-peein'" joke you feel may be needed at this point. I'll wait.) are irresponsibly teaching their little boys to pee like girls out of some freakish political correctness (the phrase "...not to terrify girls with their ability to pee standing up.." or words to that effect were used in one article. I am not making this up—the author seemed completely serious.)*. The actual reason that many parents (in the United States, Europe, and other places indeed, it seems) teach this has more to do with sanitation than some wacko stab at gender equality. Anyone who has ever cleaned up a little boy's bathroom knows exactly what I am talking about. Yes, a few people do get extremely passionate about this in Europe and in the US. Some people can get passionate about nearly anything, I think.

There seems to be a small (but extremely vocal) group of men who are absolutely horrified by the prospect that a man would ever urinate in a sitting position. I suspect that they may be the same guys who won't hold their significant other's purse, lest someone taunt them with the words "Whoa, check out the dude with a purse!"

For many men with knee or back problems, or who like to read a magazine while answering nature's call, sitting down to urinate is a normal part of life. An informal survey of male friends indicates that about a quarter of men routinely sit down to pee, the number seems amazingly consistent from USA, Europe, and Britain. Rest assured that this presents no threat to your health. Whether it represents a threat to your masculinity or not is up to you to decide.

*Among the many ugly stereotypes which circulate among xenophobes in the United States is that European men are somehow un-manly or somehow effeminate or unmasculine. The urination myth may be fed by that stereotype.

I would like to thank the numerous people I talked to about this subject. You know who you are.

U`ri*na"tion (?), n.

The act or process of voiding urine; micturition.


© Webster 1913.

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