Is there any information about COPD s... - Lung Conditions C...

Lung Conditions Community Forum

52,592 members63,547 posts

Is there any information about COPD sufferers having increased breathing difficulty when having a full bladder?

COPDdaddyO profile image
6 Replies

Is there any information about COPD sufferers having increased breathing difficulty when having a full bladder? My father has COPD, but recently has had severe breathlessness when his bladder is full. Has anybody experienced or heard of anything similar? He has not noticed that he has a full bladder until his breathing deteriorates rapidly and has always managed to get to the toilet, but is worried that it is not predictable and has only just started to affect him.

For further information;- he is 80 years old and has to use oxygen bottles when doing anything strenuous.

He has recently had a heart attack and cannot have an operation, so has been let out and put on beta-blockers.

6 Replies
stone-UK profile image


A full bladder will put pressure on your lungs, similar to bending.

Try eating smaller lighter meals which are easier to digest. or if constipated try a mild laxative.

Foods easy to digest.

COPDdaddyO profile image
COPDdaddyO in reply to stone-UK

Thank you Stone Uk, those are good suggestions.

I think my dad is more worried about why this has suddenly come about, but that may be too difficult to get to the bottom of. He also has to use a catheter, which is fiddly and I think he tries to put off going because it tires him out going backwards and forwards to the toilet. He really should drink a lot more water too, but again....

I think you are right about the additional pressure on his lungs, but I think that he may have put a bit of weight on while in hospital, so the two combined may be making it worse. Thank you for your help, it is good to hear opinions from people who live with COPD and people and families affected by it.

SORRELHIPPO profile image
SORRELHIPPO in reply to COPDdaddyO

You talking about him cutting down on fluid intake to reduce need to pee, I was told by a Nurse I worked with for years that this actually can aggravate the problem, she said that by reducing the fluid intake, the chemical changes (stronger urine) meant that your body wanted to urinate more frequently, might be worth checking out if this is so. The other thing you can do, is keep a urine bottle hidden under the chair, so he can deal with a sudden urge without trying to run to the loo. I have a similar issue relating to a full bladder, and reaction when a specific area of intestines are full, frequence and unannounced bladder emptying especially when bending over, I find Tena and other such underwear invaluable. Such a shame urine bottles for women are so difficult to use!!!

Bkin profile image

You say your father doesn't notice his full bladder until his breathing deteriorates rapidly.

If blood oxygen drops too low an urgent need to urinate can occur and breathing will deteriorate on exertion especially after a full meal or with a full stomach. I'm guessing its happening after he has eaten when not using his oxygen. Its a concern if his blood oxygen is dropping quickly while eating, if this is what's happening stone-uk suggestion would be appropriate.

I would speak with his consultant or his GP about what is happening. Its something to try and make things easier avoiding the blood gas 02 dropping if that is what is happening.

If your Dad or you have a pulse oximeter, maybe worth checking his oxygen levels and keep a record for when you next speak with the doctor. I wouldn't delay chatting about this with a medical professional though.

Best wishes Bkin

COPDdaddyO profile image
COPDdaddyO in reply to Bkin

Cheers Bkin that is a good idea. I shall get my dad to record his O2 levels before and after eating and before and after emptying his bladder.

Unfortunately there was not much information to be had from the hospital so I am hoping that we can get some better feedback from his new GP, who seems to be more pro-active than his previous doctors. The extra O2 information should help.

Catnip profile image


It's a natural reaction to pee when one gets severely breathless. The brain needs all the oxygen it can get, so it directs it from less needful areas of the body, such as the bladder. Tena pants are a God-send...



You may also like...