Is it possible to test the “breaking the seal” dilemma?

It is almost guaranteed to be a discussion at every party or any other alcohol filled event; often in the form of a joke, “breaking the seal” is a dilemma that has been a problem for many. I have always been interested in the mechanism behind the correlation between alcohol and having to relieve oneself, I particularly was interested in studies examining their relationship.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much momentum behind getting a big study done to prove the “breaking the seal” phenomena. However an article from Thrillist, opened the conversation with a urologist about the potential correlation. The most reasonable explanation from the urologist is that alcohol itself is a diaretic, which causes people to need to go the bathroom more. However, most of the article talks in a hypothetical tone, without any concrete evidence supporting her beliefs.

As much as I appreciated the independent urologists input on the alcohols effect on the bladder, I would have preferred to examine the results of an extended study. This idea is perfect for a double blind procedure experiment. For example, there would be three randomized groups, one being the control, another the placebo group, and the third the actual experimental group. For the control, the scientist would simply observe the groups use of the bathroom without having them drink any alcohol. For the placebo group, they would be offered a non-alcoholic beverage that they perceive to have actual alcohol in it. Finally, the third group will consume regular alcohol. All three groups and the number of bathroom trips would be observed.

However, with this potential experiment comes a slew of confounding third variables that would have to be addressed. The confounding third variables would most likely be, the individual’s bladder size, how much alcohol each person consumed, whether or no other liquids had been consumed prior to the experiment. Unfortunately, in this particular case some variables are seemingly impossible to eliminate for an experiment, perhaps explaining why not many experiments have been done on this dilemma.

bathroomOverall, I find the “breaking the seal” dilemma to be an interesting and relatable topic to many. It seems like a very reasonable thing to run a personal experiment on, but it’s an unrealistic idea to test scientifically. I can imagine the scientists having a hard time raising funds for this idea!


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4 thoughts on “Is it possible to test the “breaking the seal” dilemma?

  1. Evan Michael Wentzel

    I really like this post, you do a great job of taking an unanswered hypothesis and providing a possible experiment that could be done to see if there is a relationship between the two variables. I think if you were to make the trial big enough, it would help to limit the chances of cofounding variables effecting the study.

  2. Jennafer Palmer

    This post I feel is very relevant for a college age student such as ourselves. I know personally whenever I do drink alcohol I worry about breaking the seal because it is annoying to have to constantly go to the bathroom. I would also say that a third variable could be that those that know about “breaking the seal” will more than likely be conscious of that and it could potentially affect the amount of alcohol they consume during the study. But I really think this study should be conducted because it’s an interesting thing to examine, perhaps even from a health standpoint as well.

  3. Olivia Watkins

    Quick note–you forgot the title. I enjoyed reading this article. I have heard that saying, and said, that quite often. I always thought it occurred because after consuming so much liquid, it would only make sense. Another confounding variable to your hypothetical study would be the fact that everyone’s liver processes alcohol differently and at a different rate. I know this firsthand because my friends do not get as bad of hangovers as I do, even when we drank the same amount. I wouldn’t go as far to say I conducted a study of this but I made sure that the starting and finishing line were the same in every aspect–food, what type of alcohol, and of course how much. This article that I found gives some very in depth information about what is happening to your body pre “breaking the seal” and post “breaking the seal”. Good read!

    1. Olivia Watkins

      Replying to my own comment, I’m just a moron and didn’t see the top of the article. Was only trying to help you out and also can’t seem to edit my previous comment, so sorry about that.

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