Infrequent Voiding Syndrome: Don't Fall Victim To This Common Problem In Nurses!

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

10,584 Unique Views | 30 Comments

Jane, a prototypical bedside nurse who works on an understaffed medical/surgical unit inside a big city hospital, says, "I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off." She also adds, "I have not even stopped for a bathroom break at any time during the past eight hours!" The purpose of this article is to discuss infrequent voiding syndrome, which is an affliction that commonly strikes bedside nursing staff.

  1. 11

    Infrequent Voiding Syndrome: Don't Fall Victim To This Common Problem In Nurses!

    Infrequent voiding syndrome, also known to urologists and other healthcare providers as 'infrequent voiders syndrome,' 'lazy bladder syndrome,' and 'nurses bladder,' is a characteristic grouping of signs, symptoms, findings, and features commonly observed in individuals who choose to delay urinating for extended periods of time. In other words, these people voluntarily hold large amounts of urine in their bladders while ignoring the urge to void. Over the years, long-term suppression of the need to urinate results in infrequent voiding syndrome.

    The cardinal sign of infrequent voiding syndrome is an enlarged urinary bladder with a smooth wall and a larger capacity for holding urine than usual. In fact, the bladder of a patient afflicted with infrequent voiding syndrome is often so stretched out that it is capable of holding anywhere from 500 milliliters to more than 1000 milliliters of urine. Other signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, pelvic pain, pelvic pressure, constipation, a slow urinary stream when voiding, a palpable mass in the pelvic area due to bladder distention, or occasional leakage of urine. Chronic urinary tract infections and reduced renal function are two of the main long-term dangers associated with infrequent voiding syndrome.

    Infrequent voiding syndrome is a rather common health problem in bedside nursing staff who are employed in inpatient facilities such as acute care hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Nurses and nursing assistants who work at the bedside must contend with multiple demands from different people (patients, visitors, family members, physicians, coworkers, managers, vendors, and other members of the interdisciplinary team) during shifts that span anywhere from eight to sixteen hours. With so many tasks to accomplish during very limited time frames, many nurses make the choice to voluntarily delay necessary trips to the restroom while at the workplace.

    Nursing staff members cite various reasons for resisting the urge to void during long work shifts. Some of the reasons include busy working environments, insufficient numbers of restrooms at the place of employment, the fear of falling behind in one's tasks, inadequate staffing, and lack of time to take breaks.

    More research regarding infrequent voiding syndrome is desperately needed because the affliction is an occupational hazard that affects bedside nursing staff who work long, grueling shifts. Infrequent voiding syndrome warrants more awareness because it is capable of greatly reducing one's quality of life due to pain, pressure, discomfort, and urinary leakage. Nurses should make a point to not ignore their own basic human needs of elimination. In a nutshell, please use the restroom and do not fall victim to infrequent voiding syndrome.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 19, '12
  2. Read more articles from TheCommuter

  3. Get email updates about new articles...

  4. About TheCommuter

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter joined Feb '05 - from 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'. Age: 33 TheCommuter has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. Posts: 25,340 Likes: 34,372; Learn more about TheCommuter by visiting their allnursesPage Website


    Find Similar Topics

    30 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    Found this article extremely interesting. As a staff nurse for many, many years, I know all too well about 'holding it' for long
    periods. I always wondered how the Operating Room staff could 'hold it' so long too. Don't have a problem with infrequency, though now.
    imintrouble and VivaLasViejas like this.
  6. 4
    Too late.
    Zombi RN, merlee, amoLucia, and 1 other like this.
  7. 9
    Quote from imintrouble
    Too late.
    Same here. My bladder is the size of a Winnebago's gas tank.
    willowita, Zombi RN, sharpeimom, and 6 others like this.
  8. 12
    When I got to go, I got to go. I tell my patient's, co-workers etc I ll be right back if I need to go. I aint gonna be the saint patron of IVS.
    Hoosier69, Fiona59, TrophyWife, and 9 others like this.
  9. 2
    Why just nurses? What about cops standing on the street? Bus drivers? Truck drivers? Crane operators? Cashiers? So many jobs don't allow you go run off to the bathroom whenever you feel the need.
    sandanrnstudent and KitkatPRN like this.
  10. 3
    Quote from Biffbradford
    Why just nurses? What about cops standing on the street? Bus drivers? Truck drivers? Crane operators? Cashiers? So many jobs don't allow you go run off to the bathroom whenever you feel the need.
    1. The cop can hide behind a building, relieve oneself, and not be ticketed.
    2. Most bus drivers are unionized and receive regular bathroom breaks.
    3. Truck drivers can stop at multiple 24-hour truck stops and relieve themselves, or they can hide behind buildings to get relief.
    4. Cashiers tend to receive bathroom breaks, even in the most menial places. I was a cashier at Target, the 99 Cent Store, two grocery stores, and three fast food joints. Using the restroom was never an issue.
    ~*Stargazer*~, imintrouble, and VickyRN like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from TheCommuter
    1. The cop can hide behind a building, relieve oneself, and not be ticketed.
    2. Most bus drivers are unionized and receive regular bathroom breaks.
    3. Truck drivers can stop at multiple 24-hour truck stops and relieve themselves, or they can hide behind buildings to get relief.
    4. Cashiers tend to receive bathroom breaks, even in the most menial places. I was a cashier at Target, the 99 Cent Store, two grocery stores, and three fast food joints. Using the restroom was never an issue.
    Hell, most truck drivers nowadays have portable toliets in their trucks. One of those would be nice...
    nursel56 likes this.
  12. 10
    Thanks for another great article, Commuter!

    Another temptation we fall prey to is not to hydrate ourselves due being too busy, or even intentionally so we won't have to "go" later. In the last few years I've tried to force myself to stay hydrated (well try anyway). It's those times when I don't make a lot urine I know how dehydrated we can let ourselves get. I'm getting real protective of my kidneys in my old crustyhood.

    Mr. Bradford, I checked to make sure - and nowhere does the article exclude anyone. Not sure why you'd find fault with someone not including other professions in a forum dedicated exclusively to nursing, and thus unlikely to have much effect on truck drivers, police, airline pilots, etc.
    RNnbakes, KelRN215, sapphire18, and 7 others like this.
  13. 13
    Crane operators and truck drivers tend to be male and have mastered peeing in a bottle.
    Hoosier69, sharpeimom, LovedRN, and 10 others like this.


Top