General Question

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Is there a technical term for this particular physiological reaction? (please read details)

Asked by evelyns_pet_zebra (12878points) July 8th, 2009

I have wondered about this for a long time. Even Cecil at the Straight Dope refused to check into it, due to the ick factor, I suppose. Why is it that you sometimes get a body shiver after you go pee, even though room temperature is not a factor? This is known in popular parlance as ‘the piss shiver’. Is there any biological reason for it, or is it simply something that has no real evolutionary and/or biological meaning or purpose?

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10 Answers

drClaw's avatar

I have heard that it has to do with your circulation, but it was from a less than reliable source.

Les's avatar

Hmm… interesting. One of the things they teach you in winter survival courses is that if you have to pee, do it. Even though it sounds terrible to strip down when it is below freezing outside, it takes so much energy for your body to keep your bladder warm, than relieving yourself helps you warm up. Maybe it could be related to that, otherwise, I’m just telling stories. ;-)

marinelife's avatar

From Mental Floss:

“Part of the SNS response to a full bladder is the release of chemicals like catecholamines (which include epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine). When you finally grab a minute to urinate, the PNS takes over, and catecholamine production changes. Some sources point at the change in chemical production as the cause of the shiver, and others say it’s the SNS to PNS switch itself that does it.

As I said, this is just a theory (and there a plenty more out there, too, like the shiver being caused by exposing your naughty bits to the colder temperature outside your pants), and no one has conducted any laboratory research to confirm it.”

ubersiren's avatar

Interesting… I’ve never experienced or heard of this. Though, my mom always said when we were little that if we were cold that we had “piss in our blood” and to just go pee. It seems to work.

shilolo's avatar

Post-micturition convulsion syndrome is the technical name. There is no clear-cut explanation for it, though I would speculate that it reflects an inadvertent stimulation of the shivering response.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@shilolo thanks bunches, I always knew there was someone who could answer some of my more arcane questions. If I could, I’d give you a bazillion lurve points. You rock!

CMaz's avatar

It feels good to pee. Sometimes so good you shiver.

casheroo's avatar

Interesting. Everything has a name. I know this happened more often when we were in a crappy apartment with no heat…I can’t recall the last time this happened to me. hmm

tinyfaery's avatar

I get the poop chills not the pee shivers. Is this the same?

dynamic3's avatar

I cant believe you found a question cecil at the straight dope wouldn’t answer that’s impressive!! The man’s a genius.

Anyway, water is a good conductor and holder of heat so in expelling it from the body I assume you could lose a substantial amount of heat energy, perhaps enough to make you shiver, this has no biological backing by the way its purely my own speculation.

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