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Comment: I have heard that 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe died
because his bladder exploded when he held it in too long at a banquet.
Can a human bladder actually explode if a person holds it in too long?

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Ganzfeld
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Interesting story about Brahe. Recent evidence showed that he may have died of mercury poisoning. From Wikipedia:
quote:
However, recent investigations have suggested that Tycho did not die from urinary problems but most likely from mercury poisoning: toxic levels of it have been found in his hair and hair-roots. Tycho may have poisoned himself unintentionally by imbibing some mercury-containing medicine. Some have even speculated that Tycho may have been murdered, possibly by Kepler, though there is no solid evidence for this.

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Kathy B
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The Wikipedia source goes to a dead link. It is probably this, which discusses the forensic evidence. How Tycho Brahe Really Died

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I'm trying to find a cite, but I think it's unlikely you'd "explode" from simply holding on. If you do ignore the need to urinate, it goes away, then returns, then goes away, until eventually you'll simply wet yourself.

If you actually had something obstructing the flow of urine, though, it could be a different story.

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Little discussion about exploding bladders here. Not exactly the situation in the OP, but some good info.

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Troberg
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quote:
If you actually had something obstructing the flow of urine, though, it could be a different story.
Not sure exactly where I read it, but I read somewhere that if that happens, the bladder don't explode, instead you end up vomiting a urine like substance. I have no idea at all if that's true, though.

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/Troberg

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Mosherette
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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
quote:
If you actually had something obstructing the flow of urine, though, it could be a different story.
Not sure exactly where I read it, but I read somewhere that if that happens, the bladder don't explode, instead you end up vomiting a urine like substance. I have no idea at all if that's true, though.
I'm not sure that would happen. The urine would have to go back up into the kidneys, back out through them into the bloodstream, be...de-absorbed into the intensines and back into the stomach before being vomited out. Wouldn't it?

I can personally attest to the fact that when one holds it in for too long and there is no obstruction in the urethra, one simply wets oneself, but I'd rather no one asked me to elaborate. (I'm serious.)

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DemonWolf
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It takes effort to hold it in. The muscle that you use to "hold it" will tire and give out long before your bladder does.

Whatever you do, do not use a clothespin to hold it in for just a little bit longer...

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Andrew of Ware, England
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This article suggests that having a full bladder is more likely to lead to injury than an empty one. It also says that injuries are likely to occur because of 'blunt or penaetrating trauma'. Thus in a car accident a flat seat belt is unlikely to cause injury to the bladder.

quote:
Bladder injuries occur as a result of blunt or penetrating trauma. The probability of bladder injury varies according to the degree of bladder distention; therefore, a full bladder is more likely to become injured than an empty one.

Although uniformly fatal in the past, a timely diagnosis with appropriate medical and surgical management now offers an excellent outcome. Early clinical suspicion, appropriate and reliable radiologic studies, and prompt surgical intervention, when indicated, are the keys to successful diagnosis and management.

Having a burst bladder need not be fatal now. From the same article.

quote:
Of traumatic ruptures, extraperitoneal bladder perforations account for 50-71%, intraperitoneal accounts for 25-43%, and combined perforations account for 7-14%. Incidence of intraperitoneal bladder ruptures is significantly higher in children because of the predominantly intra-abdominal location of the bladder prior to puberty.

Combined intraperitoneal and extraperitoneal ruptures account for approximately 10% of all traumatic bladder-perforating injuries. Mortality rates in these patients approach 60%, as compared to 17-22% overall, reflecting the severity of concomitant injuries associated with combined bladder ruptures.



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Troberg
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quote:
I'm not sure that would happen. The urine would have to go back up into the kidneys, back out through them into the bloodstream, be...de-absorbed into the intensines and back into the stomach before being vomited out. Wouldn't it?
Probably. The only answer I can give is that perhaps the kidneys can't take more, those substances gets out elsewhere in the body. That's why I used the term "urine like substance", as I also considered it highly unlikely that it would flow all that way back without killing the patient.

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Ganzfeld
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We talked about the traumatic version of the bladder burst last year.
http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/35/t/001694/p/1.html

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Katywren
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quote:
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I'm not sure that would happen. The urine would have to go back up into the kidneys, back out through them into the bloodstream, be...de-absorbed into the intensines and back into the stomach before being vomited out. Wouldn't it?
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Probably. The only answer I can give is that perhaps the kidneys can't take more, those substances gets out elsewhere in the body. That's why I used the term "urine like substance", as I also considered it highly unlikely that it would flow all that way back without killing the patient.


My husband had a particularly bad episode of kidney stones a couple of years ago. Namely, he had one the size of an adult male pinky-fingernail completely blocking his ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder). The doctor said that most of the pain he was feeling was coming from urine backing up into the kidney. This was very dangerous, because, while the liquid could and would be reabsorbed back into the body, the toxins from the urine was quickly building up in his kidney. We had to constantly monitor his temperature because a sudden spike in temp was the first symptom of Uric Acid poisoning. Apparently, this is quite deadly.

So, I don't think that a back up of urine would cause vomiting of any kind, unless that is a more advanced symptom of Uric Acid poisoning. (Which it may be, I'm not sure. DH got into surgery before it got to that point.)

Katywren

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Lonely Mountain
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Bladder rupture can happen if there is some kind of obstruction. The only medical references I can find of this happening by "holding it" are with patients that had a recent previous injury or surgery to their bladder. It has been said that Tycho Brahe's bladder ruptured due to severe enlargement of his prostate, possibly due to cancer or an infection.

If it does happen, it certainly won't burst or explode just like your appendix doesn't burst or explode. What happens is that it develops a tear and the fluid leaks out and the pressure is relieved. This fluid will go into your body and cause sepsis or septic shock which is usually fatal if not treated immediately.

Tycho Brahe on the other hand is now believed to have died from mercury poisoning. A test of beard hair retrieved from his grave was tested in 1996 by J. Pallon at Fysiska Institutionen at Lund University, Sweden. The test showed that he ingested a large amount of mercury about 20 hours before he became ill. He may have been murdered but it is more likely that the mercury came from medicines that he had taken.

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
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I heard the same story once, of someone dying of a burst bladder at a banquet, only it was a prince. (It was understood that royalty never, ever left the table under any circumstances, apparently.) I had a feeling it was a UL, though.

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Rivkah Chaya
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Repeatedly holding your bladder too long can cause an infection, either bladder or UT, which in turn can cause inflammation that leads to blockage. I know this because I have a congenitally small bladder, and used to get bladder infections all the time; I couldn't go more than two hours during the day (more like one hour, mostly), or four hours at night, without needing to relieve myself.

I had surgery, and also took the medication Detrol for five years. Got to the point where I could go easily four hours during the day, and eight at night without needing to pee.

Then I got pregnant.

My point, which I'm getting to, is that Brahe may have been in the habit of holding his bladder too long, giving himself an infection, which lead to his ingesting mercury, which was commonly used for internal pain.

People didn't understand the effects of infectious invaders at the time of course, or the need for antibiotics, but in some cases, mercury may actually have benefitted. Before organic antibiotics were discovered, poisons like heavy metals-- ie, those not immediately fatal to the host-- were used as treatment for infections. They may actually have killed off bacterial colonies in the body. The problem was, it usually worked only early in the course of an infection, and most people didn't seek treatment until they'd been sick awhile, and nothing was known about regulating dosages. They probably worked just often enough to keep the belief in them alive.

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