Ever feel like you have to go, but you know that your bladder is empty because you just voided? Then you pass gas, and the urgency is gone.

Why does this happen?

You may develop feelings of urinary urgency in the morning while still in bed; in the middle of the night; or randomly throughout the day.

You urinate but the urgency is still there. It’s not a strong urgency, but it’s noticeable nonetheless.

It may hang around for a while. Then you start passing gas. There may not be relief at first. But after a few more farts, you realize, “Hey, I no longer feel like I have to go.”

If this urgency despite an emptied bladder + passing gas + relief from urgency happens from time to time, then you’ll begin wondering why a buildup of gas – which originates in the intestines – makes you feel like you have to urinate.

“Gas or full bowels can cause a sensation of urinary urgency for a few reasons,” says Betsy Greenleaf, DO, a board certified urogynecologist and owner of Greenleaf Health & Wellness, a medical center dedicated to mind-body-spirit wellness.

“The bowels and bladder share the same nervous system, so that anything that bothers the intestines can be sensed in the bladder,” explains Dr. Greenleaf.

“This can also occur with diet. Inflammatory foods can trigger both the bladder and the bowel.”

Heavily processed foods such as cereal, baked goods and microwavable dinners are inflammatory.

Foods in their natural state or close to it are anti-inflammatory, such as fresh produce, nuts, seeds, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, brown rice, whole potatoes and whole yams.

Dr. Greenleaf says that mechanical pressure, too, can make a buildup of gas cause a feeling of having to urinate.

“Since the intestines and bladder are intimately located, distension of the bowels from gas can place pressure on the bladder, causing a sense of urinary urgency.

“This can be worsened in women who have had a hysterectomy or are postmenopausal since the uterus can sometimes act as a buffer between the bladder and the bowels.”

A postmenopausal uterus is shrunken, thus lessening the buffer effect.

Dr. Greenleaf is board certified in obstetrics/gynecology, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, and procedural medicine and aesthetics. She is host of Some of Your Parts Podcast and owner of the Pelvic Floor Store. Follow her on Instagram.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.
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Top image: Freepik.com/jcomp