Why do the bottoms of my feet feel hot when I pee?
November 7, 2012 5:48 PM   Subscribe

The bottoms of my feet get hot when I pee. Why does this happen? Does this happen to anyone else? Should I be worried?

This has happened to me for as long as I remember. When I urinate, the bottoms of my feet have a sensation of growing hot. It isn't every time I pee. The only thing I've been able to trace as far as there being a pattern is that if I'm drinking beer and pissing a lot because of that, it doesn't tend to happen then. But pretty much every day, I go to stand at the toilet or urinal, let the stream start, and then feel the bottoms of my feet grow hot.

(No, it isn't happening because I'm peeing on the floor and it's running onto my feet.)

So, why do I get this sensation? Am I the only person this happens to? Does this indicate that I should have seen a doctor for some problem that I've been ignoring for most of my life?
posted by hippybear to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well this may be getting a little personal, but what color is your pee? That's probably a bigger indicator of something being up.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:53 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: My pee ranges in color from pale to dark, depending on whether I've had a lot of liquid, been working hard in hot weather, had coffee, taken multi-vitamins, or whatever else.

I've never noted anything unusual with the color of my urine.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 PM on November 7, 2012

I sometimes get the chills, get goosebumps, or feel flushed (heh) when peeing. I'm a lady and a sitter, so I may be experiencing the same thing as you but in a different way. Maybe?
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:09 PM on November 7, 2012

Well, as a native Northerner, one thing I know is that your body has to work to keep your urine at body temperature, and emptying your bladder helps keep your core temperature up. So it's conceivable that you have some sort of anticipatory response going up where your body is getting ready to shed a little excess heat.

...That's a bit farfetched, to be honest. I guess another interesting question might be: does it happen if you sit down to pee? Maybe there's something going on with your stance.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:10 PM on November 7, 2012

Does it happen if you're standing still at other times, like washing the dishes, or waiting in line at the bank?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:14 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: It does happen when I sit down to pee. (I just don't pee sitting that often.)

This particular sensation of bottoms of feet getting hot is ONLY connected with the release of urine. It doesn't happen before or after I'm peeing, it happens WHILE I'm peeing, and usually starts faint and then builds during the duration of the session.

It's not every time I pee, but it's certain to happen at least once a day, often more.
posted by hippybear at 6:18 PM on November 7, 2012

Do science to it!

Obtain an electronic thermometer and monitor your foot temperature before, during, and after urination. This at least will help to determine whether it's a genuine temperature fluctuation or just a sensation.
posted by pont at 6:23 PM on November 7, 2012 [10 favorites]

I suspect a distended bladder is pressing on veins and or arteries leading to your legs, and that when that pressure is released, the increased circulation gives rise to a sensation of warmth.

Take a look at this picture to see that your bladder is right below a mare's nest of veins and arteries.

And here is a report of a markedly distended bladder causing edema in the scrotum and feet by compressing the iliac vein (one of the vessels in the mare's nest).
posted by jamjam at 6:30 PM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your distended bladder could also be pressing on some nerves leading to your legs and they might go a bit crazy (that's a scientific term there) when the pressure is relieved, giving you a brief sensation of warmth in your feet. I wouldn't worry too much about it though.
posted by Scientist at 8:10 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: I'm not sure what you mean by distended. This isn't something which only occurs if I've been holding it for a long time and thus would have a bladder more full than normal.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 PM on November 7, 2012

Distended was a poor choice of words because it carries an implication of abnormality; I used it in my Google search because I was looking for medical reports.

I should have said full in my first paragraph; distended was appropriate for the second paragraph because that guy had more than a gallon (!) of pee in his bladder.

I occasionally have a more generalized feeling of warmth in my legs as I pee, by the way.
posted by jamjam at 8:38 PM on November 7, 2012

Just a wild guess, but maybe the cause is similar to (and just a different manifestation of) the possible cause of "pee shivers", about which I read as follows: "the body’s blood pressure goes down to to initiate urination, and then peeing can unleash a reactive response from the body’s sympathetic nervous system". Or maybe it's just a rush of blood when blood pressure increases. Do you also get pee shivers?
posted by Dansaman at 10:10 PM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: I can't even imagine what pee shivers are. So I guess I don't get them.
posted by hippybear at 11:02 PM on November 7, 2012

You can test your temperature, but it's likely just a sensation (a bad signal so to speak), similar to referred pain (when you "feel" a pain someplace it actually isn't) or possibly a type of neuropathy (nerve damage). I suspect it's more likely just a pinched nerve based on your description.

I'm diabetic, but while I'm not ready to suggest that might be a cause here, it means I pay a lot of attention to my feet and how they feel at any given time. Are your feet generally healthy in other ways? Do you have dry skin or blistering or abnormally large calluses? Do scratches and other minor wounds take longer to heal? Do you get chronic fungal infections, cracked toes, or other foot problems? If you moisturize your feet do they feel better? Any of these could point to a more serious condition, but I'm not sure that by itself you have something that you couldn't just bring up at your next physical.
posted by dhartung at 1:35 AM on November 8, 2012

My vote is that you are an anatomical outlier in the range of normal, wired up in that way due to the marvilously complicated innervation of bladder and tibial nerve that supplies the ball of your foot. Basically the overlap of pelvic and perineal innervation.

My husband gets a tingling on the outside of his thigh when he sneezes, you can actually see the skin ripple, it's cool to watch. He is also an outlier.

It's interesting to note that treatments of overactive bladder can impact the ball of the foot. e.g. eletrode treatment of overactive bladder uses a needle placed near the tibial nerve

"With correct placement of the needle electrode and level of electrical impulse, there is often an involuntary toe flex or fan, or an extension of the entire foot. However, for some patients, the correct placement and stimulation may only result in a mild sensation in the ankle area or across the sole of the foot." (my emphasis)

so basically unless you have any other symptoms, e.g. lower back pain or a family history of diabetes I would put this in the "cool thing normal bodies do" category.
posted by Wilder at 3:26 AM on November 8, 2012

I vote for the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system (so often the culprit when things get weird). It opposes the actions of the sympathetic division. Sympathetic is responsible for retaining urine. Parasympathetic action helps you void. Sympathetic system constricts your peripheral blood vessels. Parasympathetic dilates them, which could bring blood to the area and create a sensation of warmth.

Why just your feet? Why just you out of all the folks you've talked to? No idea. Just a little bit of variation in the way your nerves are laid out, perhaps. But it seems plausible that when the parasympathetic division comes into play to help you pee, it gives a little extra in the vasodilation department.
posted by wjm at 4:14 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I get a sensation in my upper left chest sometimes when I pee. I asked my doctor about it casually one time, and he said 'oh, some people get pee tickles. Nothing to be concerned about. "
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:38 AM on November 8, 2012

If it's a pinched nerve or any kind of mechanical impingement on a nerve, it's not very likely to affect both feet the same at the same time, and I would guess that for most 'wiring' abnormalities as well (is your husband blue-eyed and was he blond as a child, Wilder?), though diabetic neuropathy could be more symmetrical, I suppose-- but then you aren't completely explicit as to whether it's mostly both feet relatively equally.

That it's just your feet-- the bottoms of your feet-- does need an explanation, as wjm points out, and vasodilation is a good candidate, but your body can constrict the arteries to your kidneys and thereby reduce the production of urine, and a full bladder would seem to be an occasion for that, and peeing an occasion to open things back up again, which would tend to reduce bloodflow to the feet because some would be diverted to the kidneys.
posted by jamjam at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2012

Oh oh oh... I get this too, but just in my right foot. It's happened since I was a kid but not every time.

I always put it down to the way the body is mapped in the brain. Like phantom limb syndrome. There is a pattern to that and the feet are very closely related to groin, I believe. In people with phantom feet syndrome they 'feel' their feet with groin stimulation - or at least that is where my googling five or so years ago led me.
posted by Nufkin at 1:35 AM on November 9, 2012

HI Hippabear, I have the same sensation. You're not alone. One morning, six months ago, I started experiencing similar consistent warming sensations in the inguinal area and testicular pain. The sensation was warming and almost intolerably burning. Three months I went from doctor to doctor and had several treatments but no results. Everything indicated that I was healthy. During this time these sensations began to appear in other places, like the penis, anus, back end of the pelvis and in the feet (same thing appeared during urination), when at times the pain appears in one place, then disappears and then comes back in another. Until I assumed that it may be a sports hernia. I was operated a month ago. Immediately after surgery the testicular pain disappeared, but burning sensations in other areas persisted. Three to four days after surgery the testicular pain used to come back and go away again for short periods of time, but it was weaker, with a tendency to disappear. Then the burning sensations began to disappear gradually. After 5 to 7 days they had almost disappeared until they came back again, but were not as strong. After a month, for a period of one week, my symptoms were completely gone, but three days ago the burning sensations came back. I hope it will only take some time in order for them to disappear for ever. I hope this helps someone or if someone has an opinion on the matter to share it.
Thank you!
posted by K0rp7QE2 at 4:03 PM on January 28, 2013

K0rp7QE2, that sounds like an almost classic case of chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS):
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is characterised by pelvic or perineal pain without evidence of urinary tract infection,[2] lasting longer than 3 months,[3] as the key symptom. Symptoms may wax and wane. Pain can range from mild discomfort to debilitating. Pain may radiate to back and rectum, making sitting difficult. Dysuria, arthralgia, myalgia, unexplained fatigue, abdominal pain, constant burning pain in the penis, and frequency may all be present. Frequent urination and increased urgency may suggest interstitial cystitis (inflammation centred in bladder rather than prostate). Post-ejaculatory pain, mediated by nerves and muscles, is a hallmark of the condition,[4] and serves to distinguish CP/CPPS patients from men with BPH or normal men. Some patients report low libido, sexual dysfunction and erectile difficulties.
posted by jamjam at 8:45 PM on January 28, 2013

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