The StethoSCOOP

Answers to Some of the Weirdest Medical Questions & More

Rest in “Pee”s: Why do you wet yourself when your hand is put into warm water?

Suggested song: “The City’s Summer” – The Honorary Title

There’s that one prank that has been repeatedly performed – you know, the one where you put your roommate’s hand in a bowl of warm water to make him/her wet his/herself in his/her sleep (beware, Haley). I have not tested – nor has this been tested on me (NO, HALEY) – whether or not this actually works, but I heard it does, so let’s explore how you could accidentally create your own BP[ee] spill.

Soaking yourself in hot water can have the same effect as a rise in blood pressure. When a rise in blood pressure is triggered, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) directs the kidneys to excrete salt, which is proceeded by water. Both move out of the blood and into the urine to be released. Now when your finger is led unconsciously into a cup of warm water during a vengeful prank, the heart pumps the heated blood from your finger, causing the heart’s left atrium to slightly stretch and interpret the excess heat as a rise in blood pressure. ANP runs to the scene of the crime, which signals the kidneys to elevate the flow of urine to the bladder. In turn, the host of these shenanigans feels an urge to heed Nature’s call.

The same principle applies to why you seem to want to urinate much more often in a hot tub than if you were smashing yourself against a cold slip-n-slide. For the sake of the general public, my advice to you would be to do your business before you bask yourself in that jacuzzi at so-and-so’s party; not everyone wants to know how much fluid you drank. If that fails, just stick to the chips and punch table, please.

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This entry was posted on September 7, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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