Post-micturition convulsion syndrome sometimes called pee shudder or pee shiver is the involuntarily shiver that happens to some of us, especially men when we void a large amount of urine. This has affected most of us, especially the men but well it’s not something dangerous or something that could cause for alarm; in fact, it’s likely ignored by individuals who experience it because well, it lasts for just about 1-2 seconds after micturition and it is not painful. The most of us, who experience it and ask questions are just curious and want to know exactly why some people have to shiver once they are done urinating and others do not and also why it’s almost only common in males. The most popular cause of shivering or shuddering is usually the prolonged exposure of our body to cold environment or when we have a fever. When our body is exposed to cold, our internal body temperature drops and the only way our body usually deems fit to regulate its internal temperature and maintain homeostasis is by, causing muscular activity to increase through disturbance of the skeletal muscle causing, it to shake in minute movements.
This process generates heat energy which in turn increases our internal body temperature causing us to feel the warmth. Before we proceed let’s try to understand this long and fancy name scientists gave to this condition; “Post-micturition convulsion syndrome” - Post means “after”, in this context and micturition is an alternative name for urination while convulsion is an alternative word or synonym for shiver and syndrome is a classified group of symptoms that often occur or exist together. Now, this makes perfect sense, being that from the name of the syndrome we could easily deduce it’s basic meaning or at least has an idea of what the syndrome is about.
Now, let’s try to understand the reason why some of us, especially males shiver after micturition. This condition is for a fact very mysterious, even to scientists but somehow they have found a way to explain this condition using two approaches; The temperature change and the autonomic nervous system. Using “temperature change” as a basis to explain pee shudder or shiver; as we all know, when we urinate we release warm liquid - the release of this warm or almost hot liquid from our body reduces our body temperature and in a bid to regulate our body temperature, muscular activity increases causing us to shiver. Does this explanation make sense? Well, I’m going to bring in a debatable thought, my thought on this explanation given by people. If a reduction in body temperature as a result of micturition automatically causes us to shiver, then why does it not affect everyone that urinates? Think about it.
The most appropriate explanation of this condition is using the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for our unconscious or involuntary actions like sneezing, twitching, shivering etc. The autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and the enteric nervous system. The autonomic nervous system also controls other involuntary muscles action like our respiratory rate our heartbeat rate, body temperature regulation etc. For this context we would be solely concerned with the actions of only the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system because the enteric nervous system left the boys to become a man of his own; I’m basically saying it’s now classified as being different from the autonomic nervous system because it now has its own independent reflex activity.
The Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is popularly known to be involved in the body’s “fight or flight” response. When something bad happens in your surrounding like a riot, emergencies or crisis, the SNS helps in stimulating (by releasing stress hormones) the body’s response to either fight for life or flight, which is running for your life. There was this girl in my secondary school that was believed to have been possessed by “Jinn” (an evil spirit) - the Muslim fellows would know a lot about it. This Jinn possession was sort of temporary and would stop when an “Imam” or someone of faith sends the demons away; during the course of this possession, her voice changes, she becomes really aggressive and dangerous, so people were really scared of her as we were fully aware that she wasn’t in control of herself. One fateful night in the school’s dormitory where I used to stay at that time, this lady came visiting her friend in my dorm and unfortunately for us, this Jinn spirit took control of her and she became really aggressive, I got so terrified that I didn’t know when I started jumping from bunk to bunk at a really fast pace.
This is what I wouldn’t have done on a normal day, these bunks were really high bunks for God’s sake, it could have only been my sympathetic nervous system causing me to run and jump at that pace by pumping up my adrenaline. Let’s not forget that in most cases of emergency or danger, we get scared and almost all of us would have a faster heartbeat rate, higher blood pressure and some of us might even pee or poop on ourselves ( I pray we don’t find ourselves in this kind of embarrassing situation). The sympathetic nervous system literally sympathizes with us and tries to make the situation less embarrassing by slowing down the activities in the intestines, relaxing the bladder and tensing up the sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract in order to prevent pooping and definitely, urination.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) on the other hand is normally referred to as the rest and digest system. Unlike the sympathetic nervous system which acts when we are in danger by releasing stress hormones, the parasympathetic nervous system rather acts when our body is at rest. The parasympathetic nervous system functions in an opposite way when compared to the sympathetic nervous; while the sympathetic nervous system tries to stop urination the PNS helps in the urination and defecating process by relaxing the sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, increasing intestinal activities and also helps in slowing down the body’s heartbeat rate and reducing blood pressure. Now let’s understand the relationship between the action of the PNS, SNS and pee shuddering; You know when you fill in water into a sac bag? The way it expands? That’s how the bladder is when it gets filled up with urine. In order for you not to urinate without control, the SNS gets to work by trying to stop urination until you’re ready or want to let it all out. ( The SNS is able to do this by still releasing adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine).
The PNS gets to work when you have finally decided to empty your tank, by tank I mean your bladder; it immediately counters the action of the SNS by reducing the release of the stress hormones previously released by the SNS to prevent urination and also lower the body’s blood pressure in the process. Just like Le Chatelier principle, every system would always try to create a new equilibrium when it’s initial or previous equilibrium is disturbed. The action of the PNS causes the blood pressure to reduce and the body system in a bid to maintain equilibrium begins to stimulate more release of these stress hormones to increase body activity and also increase the blood pressure. This drive for system equilibrium causes us to shudder or shiver after micturition and effect of this equilibrium is felt more through shuddering if you have held in the urine for a longer time; so it’s basically the longer you hold your urine, the higher the rate and chances of shivering after micturition.
If you paid close attention to every detail in this article you would realise that my so-called debatable thought turns out to be shit. - I’ll save this explanation for the curious cats reading this. Now, it is for a fact that, pee shudder is more common amongst the male community, the reason being that Y'all mostly stand upright to urinate. The women are most likely to sit to urinate as opposed to men who mostly stand upright; the blood pressure plays a key role in pee shudder as the SNS and PNS all have a fight with the aim to either increase or reduce blood pressure which in turn results in the system trying to obtain equilibrium causing pee shudder. I know right, I didn’t have to say all that again but well here’s the juice; blood pressure is higher when standing to urinate as opposed to sitting, which explains why pee shudder is more common amongst men. If you are male who shivers after urinating and it makes you feel awkward, you should try sitting the next time you visit the toilet. No this is not a bad idea at all, as a matter of facts it also has juicy health benefits like emptying your bladder completely which is not mostly possible when you stand to urinate and is a more hygienic way of urinating. Some scientists say that sitting to pee might also help you improve your sex life as a man and also reduce your risk of being prone to diseases like prostates cancer and urinary tract disease.