Why Do My Eyes Water When I Pee? Scientific Reason Explained

The human body works as a symphony of unconnected systems that can intersect in surprising ways. Among these unusual intersections is the one between micturition and lacrimation. While these two biological processes appear to be independent, some people experience an unexpected link between the two.

So, why do my eyes water when I pee? Though not widely explored, this phenomenon may be due to parasympathetic nervous system activation. Urination may accidentally trigger the parasympathetic branch, which governs relaxing and restorative activities such as tear generation. This activation could stimulate the lacrimal glands, resulting in crying during urination.

This article will delve into the unique occurrence of tearful urination and its potential explanations.

The Link Between Micturition And Lacrimation

Micturition and lacrimation are both fundamental physiological activities that serve separate tasks. Micturition is the process by which urine is expelled from the bladder using a synchronized interaction of muscles and brain signals.

Lacrimation, on the other hand, is controlled by the lacrimal glands and helps to maintain ocular moisture as well as contribute to emotional expression. Since 1932, there had only been a singular case of a young man with tear production during urination that was documented in medical literature.

However, in recent times, only one other occurrence has been documented. This is about a 3-year-old girl who has exhibited tearful urination since birth. Doctors were astounded as they observed the little girl having this phenomenon.

The Link Between Micturition And Lacrimation

They reported that the girl’s jaw would drop, and she would have a blank expression on her face. The girl also remained conscious and was in no pain. The emergence of online forums and communities has provided a platform for individuals to share their unique experiences, including tearful urination.

While these personal stories may lack medical validation, the collective nature of these accounts suggests that tearful urination may be more common than previously documented. These shared experiences provide a qualitative glimpse into the diversity of human responses.

This, in turn, encourages further research into the phenomenon’s prevalence and underlying mechanisms. Another well-known case is that of a man from Kentucky who meticulously documented the symptoms over 94 days.

This report came from a researcher at the University of Louisville. The researcher detailed how the problem was eventually resolved by administering atropine, a drug known for its ability to reduce the activity of specific nerves. Notably, atropine is also used in ophthalmology to dilate pupils.

To gain additional insights, researchers in England embarked on an exploratory journey through health-related forums and websites. The effort resulted in a significant discovery: a collection of additional cases that mirrored the tearful urination phenomenon.

Using a systematic search across online discussion groups, these researchers uncovered accounts from 35 people. These people recounted their experiences with tear production during painless urination. Surprisingly, nearly half of these people identified as female, and three said they had a close family member who was experiencing similar symptoms.

Reasons For Tearful Urination

The parasympathetic neurons of the facial nerve originate within the lacrimal nucleus situated in the pons – a region of the brainstem. In the same area lies the Pontine micturition center (PMC), which serves as a pivotal switch within the micturition reflex pathway.

In pursuit of explaining tearful urination, scientists hypothesized the presence of abnormal parasympathetic connections between the lacrimal nucleus and the PMC.

The activation of the parasympathetic nervous system orchestrates the body’s “rest and digest” functions, which include tear production. According to research studies, the neural pathways involved in micturition and the parasympathetic response may have unexpected connections.

Complex neural pathways are involved during the act of urination to coordinate the relaxation of the urinary sphincters and the contraction of the bladder muscles.

Reasons For Tearful Urination

Inadvertently, this process may stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering tear secretion by the lacrimal glands. Another line of research suggests that misrouted signals may be responsible for this unusual phenomenon.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of functional imaging data, definitive conclusions remain elusive. Doctors should become acquainted with the existence of this phenomenon and recognize that it represents an aberration rather than a pathological condition.

Are Tearful Eyes Harmful During Urination?

Tears during urination are generally not harmful from a physiological standpoint. However, they can have psychological and emotional consequences that cause anxiety and stress in the affected individual. Tearful urination is still a poorly understood and understudied phenomenon.

This lack of knowledge can contribute to increased anxiety because individuals may struggle to find concrete answers. In addition, the lack of established treatments or medical guidelines for tearful urination can contribute to a sense of helplessness and frustration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are other questions you might have about why eyes water during urination.

Q1. Can tearful urination be treated?

Because tearful urination has not been extensively studied, there are no standardized treatments available. However, some clinicians inject atropine just before micturition. This has been seen to help some of the people with this issue.

Q2. Can psychological factors cause tearful urination?

Psychological factors, such as emotional responses and stress, do not play a role in tearful urination. Research states that tears are linked to urination without any emotional connection.

Q3. Is tearful urination more common in certain demographics?

The current research is insufficient to identify specific demographics; however, online discussions suggest that it is more prevalent in females and is hereditary.


The odd occurrence of tear production during painless urination remains an unstudied but intriguing phenomenon. While the medical literature only reports two cases, the prevalence of similar experiences is shared through online platforms. This suggests that this phenomenon may be more widespread than previously recognized.

The potential explanation is the physiological miswiring of nerve pathways. Recent case studies and hypotheses have shed light on the interaction between the Pontine micturition center and the lacrimal nucleus, revealing the possibility of neural cross-activation.

As medical knowledge advances, clinicians are better equipped to recognize the benign nature of this occurrence. This highlights the remarkable complexities of human physiology.

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