When ya gotta go: Older men admit peeing in soda bottles, shoes if they can’t hold it

NEW YORK — Answering nature’s call is an integral part of daily health, but one-third of men over 60 have at least three “close calls” a week. It turns out that urination problems are fairly common for many older men, research shows.

A recent study asked 2,000 American men 60 and older what aspect of their health they’d like to improve. Most chose being in perfect shape (41%), with getting enough sleep (31%) and never having to worry about frequent urination or finding a bathroom in time (24%) following closely behind.

Nearly one in three worry or feel self-conscious about the frequency of their daily urination. Despite the number of men affected, more than a quarter feel like they’re alone in constantly needing the bathroom.


Older Men bathroomDespite nearly 40 percent of the poll resorting to peeing in an “improvised spot” at least once a month when they have no other option, three in 10 felt uncomfortable doing so. Grassy areas like parks top the list as the most common locations men relieve themselves in an emergency (43%), followed by front or backyards (31%) and alleyways (22%).

Sometimes, though, men have had to get creative, using a soda bottle in a traffic jam, an empty fabric softener jug, and even a shoe.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Boston Scientific Corporation, the study also looked at how frequent urination affects men’s interactions with others.

Thirty-seven percent often make note of where to find bathrooms before they leave home for a work commute or event. Unfortunately, men still end up interrupting or avoiding certain activities due to the need for frequent bathroom breaks, including road trips (33%), sleep (25%), watching a TV show/movie (25%), and family get-togethers (19%).

Urine trouble

Older Men bathroomWhen asked about the worst or most awkward bathroom interruptions, some respondents recalled having to use the bathroom in the middle of a business deal, leaving the table at a Thanksgiving dinner, and “having to go” at their own birthday party. One respondent says they once had to “stop sex twice to use the bathroom.”

More than half of men reported frequently experiencing an urgent need to pee, a weak stream, or waking up at night to go to the bathroom — all common symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Despite these issues, only 27 percent have been diagnosed with the condition.

“While the symptoms discussed in our study are unfortunately familiar to many men over age 60, more than a quarter still expressed feeling alone in their struggle,” says Ronald Morton, chief medical officer and vice president of clinical sciences, Urology and Pelvic Health, Boston Scientific, in a statement.

“The truth is that BPH is an exceedingly common condition, and there are minimally- invasive treatment options available that can safely reduce the size of the prostate and lessen these frustrating and uncomfortable symptoms to help men resume their lives. It’s important for men who are experiencing these symptoms to talk with their doctors about their treatment options.”

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