The science behind breaking the seal

We asked an expert if it’s actually a thing


It’s the classic pain of going on a night out – you pop to the loo once and then seem to spend the rest of the night going back and forth with an unrelenting need to pee every five minutes.

But is breaking the seal actually a real thing? We spoke to Irene Stone – a nurse with years of experience and knowledge of the body – to find out the science behind it.

Irene told us there’s a few different reasons why you have to go to the loo so much when you’re drinking. “One of the biggest and simplest reasons is actually the amount of liquid you’re putting into your body on a night out.”

If we use the example of drinking pints, the first one or two you have, all the liquid in it will probably just go into replenishing any fluids you’ve lost throughout the day. Most of it won’t get converted to urine, so you won’t need the loo just yet.

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The more pints you drink, the more excess fluid you’ll have in your body – you already have enough for everything to be regulated, so with every pint you drink you’re just adding unnecessary liquid that will just be converted to urine straight away.

“Ultimately, this makes you start  needing to pee more frequently, which is probably what seems like ‘breaking the seal.'”

On top of this, she told us there’s the fact that quite a lot of alcohol, beer being a good example, inhibits a hormone that basically works to conserve water in the body by stopping too much of it being lost as urine.

“Alcohol basically stops water being absorbed as easily into the body, so more of it gets converted to urine, meaning you need to go to the loo more.”

Obviously this effect doesn’t kick in straight after your first drink – it takes a bit of time to build up, and has more impact when you’ve had more to drink.

This basically explains the “breaking the seal” idea – as you keep drinking, the hormone becomes less and less effective, which means you have to urinate more frequently.”

So, there you have it –  ‘breaking the seal’ is just a combo of too much liquid and not enough hormone.