As many wedding receptions have proven, not everyone is born with a sense of rhythm. But one instinctual dance that everyone seems to know is the performance we give when we have to pee. We balance on one leg, we touch knees, and we hop until we can finally empty our bladder.
But why? What is it about the need to urinate that turns us into a music video back-up dancer?
Urologist Howard Goldman, MD, told Health.com that there actually is a (slight) physiological benefit to bopping out when you have to pee.
“Number one, when you're moving around and jiggling, you're causing some contraction of the pelvic floor,” Goldman said. The pelvic floor controls the sphincter muscles that keep liquid in the bladder. When it’s full and threatens to cause an accident, tightening those muscles can help keep the urine at bay and your brain’s insistence on using the bathroom a little quieter.
A pee dance is also a method of distraction. Your brain finds it easier to focus on something when you're standing still as opposed to moving around, so the dancing takes your mind off the engorged water balloon that is your bladder.
Goldman added that sometimes children will grab their crotch when they have to go, which may also have benefit: Stimulating nerves there may lessen the sensations of the bladder.
So, yes, some interpretative pee dance may help ease the discomfort until you have a bathroom available. But bear in mind that repeatedly denying the urge to urinate several times a week could have some adverse health consequences, including weakened pelvic floor muscles or a bladder or kidney infection.