Are you worried about potential side effects of creatine – like frequent trips to the bathroom?
Maybe you already take creatine, or want to start. But a question that can surface is, does creatine make you pee?
As a certified personal trainer, I’ll help you demystify this common concern.
In this post you’ll understand how creatine works in the body, and its potential impact on urination.
Here’s what’s coming up.
Does Creatine Make You Pee?
Yes, creatine does make you pee. Understanding the following factors can help you anticipate and manage the increase in urination associated with creatine supplementation.
Here’s 8 reasons why.
- Creatine has a primary function of drawing water into muscle cells, which helps increase their volume.
The increase in water content in the body leads to fuller looking muscles, but can lead to more frequent trips to the restroom.
- Some individuals may experience increased urination after consumption of creatine, while others may not experience this as a side effect. I’ll share a testimony of a user later on.
- The timing of your creatine consumption can affect urine output. For instance, taking creatine closer to bedtime might result in increased need to pee at night.
- Some forms of creatine might influence your body’s metabolic processes. This alteration can affect the way the body processes fluids, leading to an uptick in the need to pee.
Increased Muscle Mass
- Taking creatine can support the growth and development of muscle tissue.
As muscle mass increases, the higher water retention within the muscle cells can contribute to an increase fluid levels more frequent urination.
- Since creatine pulls water from your body into cells, it triggers a thirst response from the body.
This can make you drink water, even to a point of being excessive. This will of course result in more frequent urination.
- For certain individuals, taking creatine might cause digestive discomfort.
The issues can rang from mild to moderate and may trigger changes in bowel movements and an increase in urinary frequency.
- High doses of creatine, especially during loading phase, can lead to more pronounced water retention in the muscles.
This surplus water within the body can contribute to a higher frequency of urination.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound. There’s about 1 gram of creatine made by the body, and it’s found in small amounts in animal-based proteins.
Many forms of creatine exist, but creatine monohydrate remains the most researched and widely used. Each form of creatine has its own characteristics.
- Creatine Monohydrate. It’s well-studied, cost-effective, and considered highly effective in increasing muscle creatine stores.
- Creatine Ethyl Ester. It’s marketed as having better absorption, but research hasn’t consistently supported these claims.
- Creatine Hydrochloride (HCl). It’s advertised for better solubility and absorption but lacks research to support its superiority over creatine monohydrate.
- Buffered Creatine. It was created to reduce stomach discomfort associated with creatine monohydrate. It’s claimed to be more stable in liquids and potentially cause fewer digestive issues.
- Micronized Creatine. This form undergoes a micronization process to enhance its solubility and absorption. It’s believed to dissolve more easily in water.
- Creatine Nitrate. It combines creatine with nitric acid, which can help with vasodilation and better blood flow. However, evidence supporting its benefits over creatine monohydrate is limited.
Related Article: Is Taking Creatine Still Considered Natural?
How Does Creatine Make You Pee?
Creatine gives your body energy, but only for a short time. To make it more effective, your muscles have to build up stores of it.
During thing stage of storing called the loading phase, creatine acts like a sponge. It pulls water into your muscle cells.
This water is pulled form surrounding areas in our body and triggers a physiological response. That response is thirst.
So your muscles are full of water and you’re drinking more water. The result is the side effect of an increased trips to the bathroom to pee.
Another possible thing that could be happening is a consequence of building more muscle.
When you strength train on creatine to build more muscle, your body has to eliminate waste products more readily. This can lead to more urine being produced because bodily waste is expelled in urine (and stool).
In fact, this study done on creatine and compounds found in urine, resulted in an increase in urine production.
The subjects took 21 g of creatine monohydrate daily for 14 consecutive days and had to pee more.
Testimony: Creatine Increased Urine Production
Creatine affects individuals differently. Some may have to pee less, while others may have to go at a level that is uncomfortable.
There was one such case for this user. This was originally posted on a forum for bodybuilding.
The user states:
“A long time ago I took creatine monohydrate for 1 month, and from day 1 it started to make me drink more water and pee much more often. I remember when I took creatine for first time and I felt so good.
I gained strength, but that supplement was so uncomfortable. How do you deal with it?
There were moments when I had to pee literally every 5-10 mins, and at some point I started to worry because I never peed so often in my life.”
This person had to deal with going to the bathroom so much that it became a cause for worry.
Of course, this won’t be common occurrence for all.
However, after digging through comment sections and forums, I noticed that many people did suffer from this extreme case of constantly having to pee.
This doesn’t mean that you will go through this extreme case, but creatine does increase the need to pee because of water retention.
These strategies might help manage the increased urination associated with creatine, but individual responses can vary.
- Controlled Dosage. Stick to recommended dosages on the product label. Avoid excessive dosing to prevent further need to pee.
- Timing of Consumption. Consider the timing of when you take your creatine. You can take the doses throughout the day, rather than taking them all at once.
This might help manage the body’s response and reduce the intensity of increased urination.
- Balanced Nutrition. Pair creatine with a balanced diet rich in electrolytes and minerals to help maintain proper fluid balance in the body.
This balance might alleviate some of the excess fluid retention associated with creatine use.
- Gradual Introduction. When starting creatine, consider a gradual introduction rather than an abrupt increase in dosage.
This approach could allow the body to adapt more gradually, potentially reducing the intensity of the side effects.
- Consult a Professional. You can seek guidance from a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice, taking into account your specific health conditions.
3 FAQs About Creatine
Why Take Creatine As A Supplement?
Here’s a few reasons why someone would take creatine.
It’s easy to use and buy. It’s available in health stores, department stores, and online. Instructions are straight forward and it’s proven safe and effective.
Increased strength. Creatine has been proven to increase lean muscle tissue and help increase repetitions and maximal lifts.
Muscle recovery. Creatine can hep to reduce muscle damage from resistance training and help with faster recovery time.
Cognitive benefits. Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can lead to benefits with cognition and memory. That’s why it’s been tested on people with cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s
Should I Drink More Water When Taking Creatine?
Yes, you should drink more water when taking creatine. Creatine draws water into your muscles, so you need to support your body with more water.
A good rule of thumb is to drink 8 ounces of water for every 3 to 5 grams of creatine you take. If you opt to do a loading phase (usually 20 grams a day for 7 days), then you will need to drink at least 4 to 5 glasses of water.
That means you will be frequenting the bathroom more often during a loading phase.
Can Creatine Be A Diuretic?
Creatine is not a typical diuretic. Diuretics are substances that promote the production of urine by increasing the excretion of water and electrolytes from the kidneys.
While creatine does lead to increased water retention within muscles, it doesn’t directly cause release of excess water through the kidneys like diuretics do.
Peeing more as a result of creatine is a result of the body’s response to the increased water content in the muscles rather than a direct diuretic action of creatine.
Does creatine make you pee? Yes, it can. There’s a link between creatine and increased urination because of its water retention properties.
Some individuals may experience a slight uptick in bathroom visits when starting creatine. But other may have more frequent visits, to the point where it becomes uncomfortable.
To mitigate this, take the proper dose at the right time. Break up your 3 to 5 grams throughout the day as needed, and supplement your creatine intake with the right nutrition.
Consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns with creatine, or stop taking it if your bathroom time is getting out hand. Stay safe!