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14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby gkblackwyo » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:58 pm

I just have to say I've had the same experience with the excessive need to stop and pee on my descents in particular! Here's my theory--I start drinking consciously every 5 minutes or so on the way up, hydrating myself way more than I ever do at home (terrible, I know). As I get closer to the top my sympathetic system kicks in and I have little, if any need to pee before getting to the summit. This is actually a good thing, since there's very few hidden spots to pee in above the tree line anyways! Once I start to descend and get past the tricky parts, the sympathetic system backs off a bit and I think the body goes into flush-out mode--Time to start getting rid of the lactic acid that's building up and elevated levels of BUN from muscle break-down--Plus, my body has all this extra fluid I've been drinking to help it do just that, and since my kidneys work great they're gonna produce a lot of urine in little time! Literally, I stopped 5 times on my descent from Long's this past weekend and these were significant pees (sorry to be gross!).

As for the nausea and headache, while they could possibly be associated with AMS, I've only ever experienced it while still ascending. And in addition to the nausea and a headache, I had unrelenting fatigue. I'd sit for a minute or two and feel fine, but when I'd get going again it only took a matter of 10 steps to completely wear me out again, and I know my issue was hydration that day. I would, instead, attribute your symptoms to electrolyte and acid-base imbalances from the urinating, the huffing and puffing at high-altitude, sweating, the breakdown of muscle that happens with strenuous activity, and the anaerobic demand in your muscles. In other words--Gatorade it up!

Anyway, I've always been curious about my raging need to pee on these hikes, too! As you can tell, hiking has given me ample time to hypothesize! ; )

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby summerspirit » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:11 pm

I also consciously drank a lot on the way up, mostly because I didn't want to get dehydrated, perhaps I did drink much more than needed. I guess I'll have to figure out a better balance next time. A question about those who use Gatorade and/or Clif shots... can you have too much electrolytes? What would be the side effects if I OD'd on Gatorade?? Again, thanks everyone for your replies! I almost wasn't going to post, thinking I just had some weird problem.... :shock:

Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby MonGoose » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:29 pm

summerspirit wrote:What would be the side effects if I OD'd on Gatorade??


You'd have to pee a lot.

Honestly, you're exercising for 8 hours so it would take a lot of electrolytes to OD. If you were sitting at home on the couch consuming all these supplements, it might be a problem but you're burning a couple thousand calories on a mountain. I suspect the first reaction for too many electrolytes would be stomach cramping but I've never heard of anyone having too many electrolytes while they were exercising. Some of the mixes also contain sugar substitutes (sorbitol) that can cause stomach problems for some people. If you're concerned about it, you might try the Electrolyte mix / Shot bloks during a weekly run or workout to see how your body reacts. Then you'll know what to expect when you get on the mountain.

Here's what Lance Armstrong has to say on the matter:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/507396-negative-effects-of-drinking-too-many-electrolytes/

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby MountainDawg » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:32 pm

I was expecting a total train wreck on this thread!

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby brendanmagee13 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:47 pm

CO Native wrote:Lots of peeing means getting lots of lactic acid out of your system which prevents altitude sickness.


One of the things I learned during my WFR class is urinating a lot more at altitude is one way your body tries to compensate to the altitude and to acclimate better. Even if you were to drink the same amount of water at 5,000 feet in Denver compared to 10,000 feet, you will urinate more. I don't know about frequency but the volume will be more.

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby DeucesWild » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:56 pm

MountainDawg wrote:I was expecting a total train wreck on this thread!


I was distracted.

I'm in the process of writing the introduction to a new thread that I'm interested in: Is frequent deucing while hiking an issue? What is the cause? Internal pressure imbalance? The whole grain tortilla in my burro the night before? Too many granola bars? Or too much frootbeer with my burro...

The options for an informative discussion are endless. Give me a little time to work out the details...
Snowflakes, Uber Alles!

www.deuceIRA.com. Put the Douche in your FiDeuceiary needs today!!

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby Fishdude » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:46 pm

DeucesWild wrote:Give me a little time to work out the details...


We would prefer you not work out the details here. Although the knife edge on Capitol would be an interesting place... :wft:

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby wildlobo71 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:53 pm

Fishdude wrote:
DeucesWild wrote:Give me a little time to work out the details...


We would prefer you not work out the details here. Although the knife edge on Capitol would be an interesting place... :wft:


It's been done - this season, by the man known as the Kamm Scheißer!
Bill W.
Yes, I have my Scotch.

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby MountainMedic » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:16 pm

I love that people keep trying to find another reason for these symptoms. It was AMS. You ascended to high altitude and shortly thereafter exhibited a throbbing diffuse headache, polyuria, and nausea. Textbook. In the absence of a significant previous medical history, you won't find a doctor who tells you otherwise. I'm not saying dehydration couldn't have played a role, but your medical diagnosis was AMS.

I don't care if you were cold, or have a small bladder, or were dehydrated (well, I do, I don't want you to have to worry about any of that). Even if that's all true, you still had AMS. Keep training at altitude and with any luck you won't get it again!

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby milan » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:32 am

I will be a little off topic but did you guys realize, that people also fart a lot in high elevations? At least I do. Like crazy. Is there any explanation for that? Is that AMS too?

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby jblyth » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:46 am

milan wrote:I will be a little off topic but did you guys realize, that people also fart a lot in high elevations? At least I do. Like crazy. Is there any explanation for that? Is that AMS too?


Good old "mountain gas"...always wondered this too. MountainMedic - please enlighten us!

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Re: 14er newbie - frequent urination while hiking, AMS??

Postby michaelgrundy » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:55 am

Also a sufferer of the aforementioned "Mountain Gas".... :oops:

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