Silver Chips Online

Save our bladders

By Deepa Chellappa, Online Editor-in-Chief
October 23, 2008
It happened again on Thursday. I was rushing down the hall, hefting my enormous backpack and cumbersome tennis bag when I heard the warning bell ring. I was so close. I had one hand on the door to the girls' bathroom, but I resigned myself to a sixth period of discomfort, fearing the wrath of my editors should I arrive late to Silver Chips.
Elaine Lin

As Blazers, we have accepted the six-minute passing period as a part of new management. We realize that socializing between periods ruffles administrators' metaphorical feathers, but why must we rush 24/7? I can absolutely deal with the six minutes if I leave immediately and go straight to my next class. But what if the teacher holds us after the bell to finish a thought? What if I need to talk to a teacher after class or go to my locker? Or, God forbid, I need to release my bladder before the end of the school day?

Administrators would argue that we have ample time to take care of business during lunch, but science proves otherwise. The bladder can hold 16 ounces (two cups) of urine comfortably for about five hours before the urge to go becomes irrepressible, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). This means that a student with 5A lunch who drinks a glass of milk with breakfast around 7:00 would not need to relieve himself until around 12:00, well into 5B, depending of course on the amount of other liquids consumed during the day and the willpower of the student in question. And the medical consequences of "holding it in" are severe. Children who frequently delay a trip to the bathroom are more likely to develop Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), according to NIDDK. Regular urination helps keep the urinary tract sterile by flushing away bacteria, but holding in urine allows bacteria to grow. Keeping digestive muscles tight for a long time also makes it more difficult to relax certain muscles when it is time to urinate. As a result, a child's bladder may not empty completely, setting the stage for a urinary infection.

And yet, we wait, realizing that the price we must pay for staying healthy is a potential tardy. True, we can always go during class, but we risk missing instructional time, and passing periods should allow students to go when they need to go. Please, administration, save our bladders and give us back our two minutes of freedom.