2/17/05

So What's Up with the Pee Shiver?

The internet is a wonderful and horrible thing. Just about any question you have can be answered with a few clicks of a keyboard and mouse. Granted, you will almost definitely get conflicting information, and you are never are 100% certain that what you are reading is the truth, but the advice is usually pretty good once you learn to separate the obvious BS from the plausible.

For some reason, yesterday was the day that I decided to find out just exactly what has been going on in my body for approximately the last 30 years. Apparently, a large number of males get the pee shiver. Not every one of them, but a fairly sizable sample. If you don't know, a pee shiver is an involuntary shiver that runs through your entire body usually right at the end of a pee. It's like a body quake - some sort of urine-induced seismic event. You don't have any control over it and you aren't really cold, it just happens. Until yesterday, I had no idea why. For years I theorized. I drew diagrams. I conducted interviews with the best minds in the scientific community. All to no avail. The pee shiver remained a mystery.

My own personal theory had to do with a drop in body temperature due to losing that large, liquid heat sink. Plus, everyone knows you lose something like 80% of your body heat through your head, and I figured just the act of hanging it out there could drop your core body temperature like 10 degrees, minimum.

So long story short, I never even thought to look it up. I was happy with my hypothesis, and it wasn't really a topic that came up in casual conversation on a regular basis. I didn't have to worry that someone would come up to me at a party and say, "That taco dip is great, isn't it? So. What's up with the pee shiver?" and then think I was ignorant when I had no good answer for them.

I resolved to get to the bottom of this mystery. I got back to my desk, and I didn't want to use my work PC to look up "pee shiver" on google (spies are everywhere) so I dropped myself an email to my home address to remind me to do the research when I got home, which I did.

Are you ready?

Nobody has ever studied it.

There are some theories, yes. But nobody has ever conducted an actual scientific study. Amazingly enough, the pee shiver -- this mystery that transcends time and space -- is not considered important enough to warrant an actual scientist doing any actual research.

So basically what I'm saying here is that my hypothesis holds as much water (so to speak) as anyone else's. If you're curious, here's the most plausible explanation I could find*:

The autonomic nervous system controls the body's involuntary muscles, including the digestive tract, heart, and bladder muscles. It also regulates your body's temperature control, making you sweat to cool off and shiver to warm up.

During urination, the autonomic system can get overstimulated. "In addition to the messages the system is sending to your bladder, it may also communicate with other areas," Cross notes. Hence the shiver. 
This phenomenon can be a real health problem for some men: They can pass out at the urinal when their autonomic system cues a drop in blood pressure!

I can tell you this. I would not want to be the poor bastard that passes out in front of the urinal in our men's room. He would have to burn his clothes. Plus, people would be stepping over him to relieve themselves, because it's every man for himself in there. Nobody is about to spend any extra time in that hell hole just to pick up some pee-covered unconscious guy with his crank hanging out and drag him out of the way. Trust me, he will be peed over.

Something else just occurred to me. That new guy, the one who pisses with his legs spread and both hands placed high on the wall like he's being busted for possession? He might do that because he has really bad pee shivers, and he's afraid of passing out.

I won't judge him. I won't pee next to him, but I won't judge him.


* With a single Google search. In five minutes.

40 comments:

  1. I don't know if this is too much information, but the pee shiver also transcends gender! We get it too, not as frequently, but the female pee shiver does exist. I thought it was just an urban myth.

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  2. I just got the blog shivers.

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  3. I'm sorry. Sometimes we share too much.

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  4. You freak.

    It's Mother Nature's way of getting you to shake that thing out.

    Right?

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  5. Anonymous1:04 AM

    I had never actually given thought to this behavior until I saw it mentioned in an Imponderable book titled "Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?" by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg. M.D. I then became curious about this phenomenon and looked it up online and found this article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/01/the_odd_body_wee_shiver/

    Enjoy!
    - Neil

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  6. Anonymous1:06 AM

    woops.. the link was cut-off.. here it is again..

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/01/the_odd_body_wee_shiver/


    - Neil

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  7. Anonymous1:07 AM

    the_odd_body_wee_shiver/

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  8. Anonymous1:26 AM

    I think everybody is way in left field on this one. I always get the shivers BEFORE I have to go pee.

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    Replies
    1. THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING!!

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  9. Anonymous10:00 PM

    well,im 15,and i just used the bathroom,and there it was,the pee shiver,i thnk the first time i could rember,and i was like,what the heck,so i looked it and found varous explantions,the most likely one is its just natures way of making ya shake it out?

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  10. Anonymous10:00 AM

    It happens with infants too. With babies, the pee shiver or pee shudder often happens just before peeing and is a body language cue that can be used with infant potty training.

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  11. I know this is an old post but I had to comment; I've been compulsively reading backwards for three days.
    The 'pee shiver' actually does have its basis in the autonomic nervous system, and there is another whole level of pee shiverage known as 'micturation-induced syncope'. Which basically means, pee-fainting.
    Just read this in the November issue of EMS magazine. Article on syncope in general.
    As an EMT I've not run across a pee fainter yet, but I promise to let you know if I do.

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  12. Anonymous2:03 AM

    IMO the greater the rush to pee the greater the feeling of comfort/pleasure one gets after urinating. I've linked shivering with other pleasurable activities like listening a very nice melody or being kissed. My two C's

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  13. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Check out what wikipedia says about this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-micturition_convulsion_syndrome

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  14. Hahahahahaha, dude, you're great! That same question occurred to me and I said to myself 'what the heck, the internet knows for sure', just like you.

    It's not TMI, just an interesting question every guy asks himself.

    Great blog, btw.

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  15. I thought it was hilarious that it was mentioned in an episode of Pushing Daisies!

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  16. Anonymous5:00 PM

    I think it's the nervous system answer, because I get it almost every time after I ejaculate. Somehow that release of fluid - semen or urine - makes me shiver at the end.

    Just my $0.02

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  17. AGMycroft10:51 AM

    This is in one of the "Straight Dope" books:

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1044/what-causes-piss-shiver

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  18. Anonymous12:00 PM

    I always called it a peegasm.

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  19. Anonymous5:44 AM

    ROFL LOL

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  20. Anonymous11:01 PM

    That has to be one of the funniest commentaries I have ever read! PS. Chicks get it too. I know this because I am one.

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    Replies
    1. Yup. I've always had them. Even as a kid and i'm a girl. I'm glad someone decided to write about it. Definitely answers some questions >.<

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  21. I personally have my own theory... well... up until i read the comments on this post, I HAD my own theory. I have always been told that women do not get the pee shivers, but after reading this, apparently they do. Anyway, my theory is/was as follows:
    I relate the pee shivers to an orgasm. or... a "peegasm" as someone said. Anyway, men pee, and for lack of better words, cum out of the same hole (the urethra). Women on the other hand, pee out of one hole (the urethra) but orgasm through another (the vagina). Therefore, men have frequent pee shivers because it's basically a "peegasm". Now... i guess my theory can still be correct because it sounds like very few women get the pee shivers, and everyone has slight variations when they orgasm. I dont know, that's just my theory.

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  22. I thought I was reading something I wrote....I'm 30 and was wondering the same thing..and I too had the same theory about the drop in temp very early on....well good enuff for me right now

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  23. Kayla6:00 AM

    I am a woman and from this information i have gathered that what i have is " pee shivers ". Ever since i was a little girl, when i was finished urinating my eyes would water and my whole body would shiver. Its unusual to be a woman who .. supposebly has pee shivers when .. there are theorys that only men do ? .. Oh well, as long as its not a signifigant health problem, ill deal with it!

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  24. Anonymous1:18 PM

    I'm so glad I'm not alone on this. I just had a pee shiver a few minutes ago...and I gotta say, I feel sorry for people that don't get them....they're great! I 've had them occasionally (as much as 5-6 times a month at random)for as long as I can remember. Thanks for the info!

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  25. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Llyod Christmas has the pee shiver too (At around the 00:46 second mark): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io30s7-5VaQ

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  26. Anonymous11:27 AM

    hey I am a female and I get the pee shivers when I really need to pee and have to hold it in. I have a realy big shiver from head to toe, and the worst thing is, that i do it in public sometimes and people look at me like i'm crazy! one time I was bursting for a pee and I was in a que at a shop, the shiver made me drop my basket, which was so embaressing:/

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  27. that would make a great name for a cocktail

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  28. Anonymous7:33 PM

    dudeeeeee thought I was the only oneeeee!!!!! but now I know I can call you guys ohana. which means family<3we are a family that shivers while we pee. together we can do anything. even tigerlily down thereVVVV. dont ever give up. even if you are a girl. be proud of your shiver. work that updo gurllllllll. I love you guys<3

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  29. The peegasm sensation is quite familiar to practitioners of qigong. It's the unleashing of Qi (Chi) that is thought to be stored among the many layers of fascia/connective tissue present in the coiled folds of the intestines (called the dantian by those who study qigong). The human torso is composed of a series of nested cavities that is normally insulated for the surrounding environment, when one opens up the prostrate to pee, the chi that one has accumulated since the last pee or ejaculation is unleashed as a shiver. With practice you may find that you can control the shiver sensation by standing on your tiptoes as you finish your biz...or so the story goes. Try it for yourself and let us know.

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  30. I looked it up after my 7 year old boy said that he gets them. I said that lots of guys do, and he asked why. I gave him the temperature drop reason, but then told him i would look it up. I don't think it is freaky to be curious about your body, Carla

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  31. Anonymous11:18 PM

    Great post. I was wondering what caused this. I propose that the buddy system be required for entering the male restroom. I ain't tryin to step over some unconscious, pee-covered guy with his crank out.

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  32. Anonymous4:45 PM

    I'm a 14 year old guy and I get them a few times a month. Unfortunately, they usually happen when I go to tr bathroom just before gym. It's really embaressing and I always try to keep myself as still as possible so nobody waiting behind me can see me shiver like that. Somewhat like you guys have been saying, I actually get them while I'm peeing instead of before or right after. Is that different or is that more abnormal than you guys.

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  33. Anonymous3:36 AM

    That's why I like women's bathrooms. I get peegasms pretty often, so I like that when they hit I can shiver and shake and roll my eyes in the back of my head without care.

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  34. Anonymous2:31 AM

    women are always left out!! not only do i get the peeshivers... I squeal like a school girl getting that first winter's gust blown up her newly won cheerleading skirt!! (neighbors have complained!!) I always get them upon my first few tinkles (if tinkling is possible... sometimes I've held it just too damned long!)... I can't tell you how many times I've thrown my back out!
    But, not only do I get the peequakes, urgasms, toilettremors, and squealing-piss-shudders... but I've been known to pass out... yes! PASS OUT on the toilet!!! No warning, no woozy oncoming trauma alert.... just, 'urgh, my face hurts' peeling my face off the unscrubbed bathroom linoleum, 'what in God's name just happened??!!', is that the toilet brush my toe is touching :/ potty passouts!!
    Thankfully they've not happened often... and always at home.... so far.
    Oh s&*^, now hubby's gonna wanna know if the odd shower fainting spell is pee-related!!!
    NO IT'S NAWWWT!! I just have low blood sugar in the mornings!

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  35. I was told by a friend it's actually a miniature orgasm men feel when they urinate.

    So eff yous guise!

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    Replies
    1. Doesn't feel anything like that, I'm afraid. I wish it did! Also, your name sounds like you might be a professional wrestler.

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    2. Its not limited to men, its definitely not an orgasm of any size, and it isn't a constant. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, personally I think it happens more often when you pee hard/fast because your in a rush or just have a large volume of liquid to deposit lol. I feel this puts a strong focus on the rapid internal temperature drop, because I had the same feeling when walking into a walk in freezer where I used to work so to my mind this popular theory seems dead on.

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