What is the connection between diving and peeing? No dive trip would be complete without an in-depth discussion of whether you should or should not pee in your wetsuit. What is clear is that if you do you should flush it out before getting on board. If you don’t pee in your wetsuit then you should hope that they queue for the toilet, is not a long one! So what’s the cause?
Toilets © Martin Abegglen
- Gravity is one reason we often need to pee just after jumping in. On land, gravity draws the blood down but once we are suspended, and gravity is reduced, blood increases in our chest area. Our body will react to this increase by signaling the kidneys to reduce the liquid volume by peeing.
- Being cold produces a similar physical reaction. The body will conserve heat by reducing blood flow to the extremities and pooling it to keep our vital organs warm. Again this increases volume, and our bodies react by peeing.
- These two physical reactions coupled with the body moistening the dry air from your scuba tank are key reasons while you need to maintain adequate hydration to dive safely. Of course, you know what proper hydration means? That you will need to pee!
- How to solve the problem? Well, quite frankly, it is near impossible. You don’t want to be dehydrated as this will increase your susceptibility to decompression sickness. Remember that if you are well hydrated, your pee has very little odor which is another good reason not to skimp on the hydration front. Get familiar with the colour of your pee. A light straw colour or pale yellow is what you are aiming for.
- Ensuring you keep warm by wearing the appropriate exposure protection will make you more comfortable and limit your body’s reaction to cold. Consider adding a vest and hood if you react to cold. Making sure you have eaten, if possible, hot food will help maintain warmth. Stay away from stimulants and diuretics like coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks as these increase your need to pee as well.
- To be perfectly honest though, if you are diving in a wetsuit, it isn’t a problem. You can just pee. There is no health risk; urine is sterile. Make sure you flush it out before you get on the boat and say nothing of it. You can rinse or clean your suit in detergent, and there are products made specifically for this use, but a simple sterilizing solution works fine.
- If you are diving in a dry suit peeing is a little more problematic. For men and women, there is such a thing as a pee value with some inherent differences. For men, this device attaches like a condom, and a urination tube and valve delivers your pee to the blue yonder. For women, the She-p device covers the entire genital area with a silicone disc and reservoir and features a spout. The She-p is fixed with adhesive and tape. The spout attaches to a tube and valve in the same way as a man’s valve. While both are going to have their comedy moments and accidents are virtually guaranteed, either are far better than wearing a diaper!