30 November 2007

One more reason not to binge drink

If you thought a hangover was bad ...

When doctors warn of the dangers of binge drinking, exploding bladders may not immediately spring to mind. However, last week a report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) made alarming reading. In the report, the medics discuss the unprecedented appearance in emergency wards of women who have suffered alcohol-induced "bladder rupture": their bladders have quite literally torn apart under pressure of a big night out.

Oh god. As if a night of binge drinking didn't sound unappealing enough. What the hell is up with those Brits? The biology of in is pretty simple, as the article explains.

The mechanics of this gruesome problem are relatively straightforward. Alcohol is diuretic - it makes you urinate more - hence the sight of drunk people urinating in the streets on a Saturday night. Alcohol is also an anaesthetic: it dulls the urge to go. The combination of large volumes of urine, and a dimmed, possibly non-existent urge to pee can result in a seriously over-full bladder.

When they tell you that alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, they really mean it. When you're so pissed that your body can't tell you that you need to piss, my god. So after the bladder bursts, urine is is the abdominal cavity and this is a very bad thing. Urine is all the stuff that your body has decided it doesn't want; mostly urea, but also by products of different metabolic processes. When urine is in the abdominal cavity, the urea is going to be reabsorbed into the blood stream and you're going to feel really crappy.

I don't drink, but I did go to college and party with people who do and I sort of understand the social reasons for heavy drinking. But from what I've read the Brits seem to approach freshman-in-college level drinking as a weekly hobby well into their thirties. Thats... interesting.

No comments: