PEE IN THE WETSUIT – DANGERS AND WHY WE MUST AVOID IT
This is a common topic: pee inside our wetsuit. There is a joke saying there are two spearos, the ones who pee inside the wetsuit and the ones who lie. And of course this is true.
Pee while we are doing spearfishing is inevitable. Because we are doing that for long periods of time (our dives use to be for many hours) and because the pressure and the cold make us pee more times. This is a physiological response when we are diving.
I can tell that sometimes I pee more than 15 times in a spearfishing day. In this article we are going to try to break a few myths (like peeing in our wetsuit makes you warmer, as it is the opposite) And we will show some risks (some of them serious) Not only about stink or a hygienic question. You will feel a great improvement if you do not pee in your wetsuit. But as we say, it is inevitable so at the end of the article we will see a couple solutions to pee outside our wetsuit.
But now we will see all the problems about peeing inside our wetsuit.
Pee inside our wetsuit is the opposite that some people guess. The first minutes we feel that is warm but a few minutes later it will make us being colder. Our wetsuits works keeping a very thin layer of water between our body and the neoprene so we warm this layer and the wetsuit will protect us for loosing temperature. Our body is warming this layer.
But we must know that we lose more than 20 times more temperature in the water than outside (air) So that means that we need more than 20 more times energy to warm the water. So we will use much more energy and we will be colder faster. We can feel that when we have leaks of water in our wetsuit or if it does not fit properly and we have bags of water moving inside it. This water will tend to be colder (and we will use more energy to try to warm it so we will be colder faster)
With the urine will be exactly the same. We will put liquid inside our wetsuit. It will be warm the first minutes but after that it will be a handicap and will make us colder.
We can use the best wetsuit but if we pee inside it will be much colder.
All of us understand that stay in our own urine is not hygienic. This urine will remain in our wetsuit (inside the pores) We can rinse it and try to clean it but after a few months the smell will be there. And it will be worse month after month.
And at the end of our dives we will stink. Sometimes we couldn´t remove this smell even with an hour inside the bath tub. We must consider that (specially for our couples)
Many people do not know all the problems that they can have because of pee inside the wetsuit. There are some of them.
Ear infections (otitis): the urine will flow inside our wetsuit and many times it will reach our ears. It will go from the pants to the jacket and to our hood. When we are diving the gravity will move this pee to our head. The urine in our ears will make them softer and can produce otitis. So many people had this problem and they didn´t know why. As soon the stop peeing inside the wetsuit they would not have that again. Here is an article about Otitis.
Burns: I had them myself. When we have the urine for many hours in contact to our skin the uric acid can produce burns. When we are going often to the water the skin can´t recover from one day to other being burned. I had them in my calves when I was in competition (before using systems to pee outside the wetsuit) There is where the pee use to be accumulated (and inside the socks)
Chaffins and inflammations: the water makes our skin softer and the urine much more. That is why in places where the wetsuit brush us. Knees (inside), ankles, elbows, neck… The skin is soft and a bit burned so will be hurt easily. Sometimes we blame on the wetsuit or our socks but the problem is the urine. Another problem can be inflammations like in our nails (on our toes) as the urine for a long time can do that (like our ears)
Spots and dermatitis: it is usual having spots or dermatitis in some places. Sometimes are infections in our pores (hair) and sometimes can be very painful (armpit with big lumps)
DAMAGE OUR WETSUITS
If we pee in our wetsuit the urine can damage the neoprene inside our wetsuit. Will make it harder, less elastic and lose properties. Make it like cardboard. And if we use to change our wetsuit and try to sell it second hand will do it impossible.
We can see that it is not a joke. But we know that we must pee in our dives. So we have some solutions.
We can go out the water and pee. It is easier when we are using a boat. Or we can go to the shore and pee outside. But takes time, is not easy to remove our equipment (belt and sometimes more stuff) and we can be far from the shore.
We can install some system to evacuate the urine. It is what we recommend. There are two systems. The liquid valve (duck beak) or the urine collector. You can see the second one in this link and how to install it. And we will upload soon the first one. I use the urine collector, it is my favourite. You can adapt them to all pants.
Beuchat has a model that includes a system but we didn´t find it comfortable and some friends think the same. But it is a solution too (I would recommend the other two instead)
In hot waters we can just move down the pants and pee outside. Of course in warm waters as doing that in Ireland could be a nightmare.
We can have the best and most expensive wetsuit in the world but if we pee inside in long journeys it will be cold and will lose properties faster. So I recommend to all of you (if you are not using it) install a system to pee outside the water. You can do it yourselves, it is easy. Or if you want www.subandcast.com can install it in new wetsuits when you buy it or in your old ones. But with the DIY we upload it is easy so you can do it.