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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pee Now, Pay Later

Summer is finally upon us dear girlfriends. With summer comes many of natures gifts… Sunshine, clear skies, long walks on the beach, fabulous strappy sandals and off course, my favorite outdoor swim. Yes, my cybersisters I do love me a good strappy sandal and I just adore Kitsilano Pool.

“Kits Pool”, as it is affectionately called is a seawater-chlorinated pool on Kitsilano Beach that overlooks the ocean and the mountains. It is, in short, a little piece of paradise. On a perfect sunny Vancouver summer day, it truly is the only place to be. The pool is 138 metres long, which means that 12 lengths of the pool is a mile. Twenty lengths of kits pool and a ride through Stanley Park allow me to justify the size 8 dress I bought on sale…. It is about 5 pounds too small but with just enough time spent in those glorious outdoor waters this summer and that dress will truly be made for me.

SO this Sunday I found myself swimming in the fountain of youth looking up at the Rockies and the Pacific and the sky each time a took a breath. The world made sense and I could have spent all day in that damn pool. That is until my bladder gave out…

Yes, my girlfriends, I peed in Kits pool. I did not plan on this little bathroom break. It just happened.

Okay that is a lie.

I could have gotten out of the pool, walked across the deck and relieved myself properly in the bathroom… but it was cold outside despite the sun and the pool was a balmy 27 degrees Celsius. I was happy in my pool. I was swimming and I was content. The water had chlorine in it and I had to pee. So I swam into the corner of the pool and let my bladder enjoy the view.

What is the harm? Why am I telling you this?

Well it turns out people who swim swallow water.

Very little empirical evidence is available to indicate how much water is ingested while swimming, but a number of estimates have been suggested in the last 70 years. Dr. Shuval (1975), in a review of standards associated with bathing beaches, suggested that swimmers ingested about 10 ml of water per bathing day. World Health Organization (2003) guidelines assume that 20 to 50ml of water is ingested per hour of swimming related activity.

A survey was conducted online between April 30 to May 3, 2009, among a national sample of 1,000 U.S. adults, using the field services of TNS Omnibus showed that 20% of people who swim in public pools pee in them.

The average volume of urine in a single micturation session (pee) is about 250ml.

Kitsilano pool is 138 metres long. There are 2.5 million litres of water in an Olympic size swimming pool. I estimate kits pools had about 7.5 million litres of water in it.

If we do the math, there are easy 10 people pissing in the pool at any given time. (There were about 50 present on this day.) This equates to about 2.5 litres of urine in 7.5 million litres of water.

If my math is correct (my mother would be so proud) that is 0.03 parts per million. Now, stay with me….

The average person actually swallows about 10-20 ml of water (2-4 teaspoons) according to a wildly accepted study in 2006 in the Journal of Water Health. I can go into detail how they determine this but safe to say- they took swimmers, put them in a pool and then measured their urine for chlorine byproducts and did the math as to how much chlorinated water was swallowed… very scientific, I must say.

This then equates to about a drop of urine swallowed every 20 swims.

Now, we’ve all gone to the washroom once or twice and forgot to wash our hands… Yes? I’m not saying we make it a habit but it does happen from time and again…

Take that into account 6 months worth of swimming in a public pool daily has the same urine exposure as forgetting to wash your hands after a good pee.

There. The evidence has relieved my guilt. I peed in a pool dear girlfriends. I’ll try not to do it again…. But I am human after all. Find it in your hearts to still love me and move on. Science has.

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