Check out this article: The Shape of the Urine Stream — From Biophysics to Diagnostics.
A title like that makes me go weak in the knees.
In a nutshell, because the flow rate created by the bladder is the about the same for all bladders and the orifice geometry of the urethral meatus is relatively standard, a male’s urine stream should follow a relatively similar trajectory throughout a lifetime.
Did I have you at orifice geometry of the urethral meatus?
Flow rate is how quickly the urine comes down the pipes.
Meatus is a impossible-not-to-laugh-when-you-say-it word for a hole in the body.
Water out of a garden hose is shaped by how fast the water comes out and how much you're covering the hole with your thumb. In this same way, the arc of your urine stream is created by the pressure of the urine flow (are you doing anything that increases bladder pressure?) and the amount and rate your urethra changes shape while emptying. Urethral dilation is smooth muscle action that can be hindered by the tension you hold in the various places in your body.
This is a fancy-smarty pants image from the study that you might find helpful.
Here's something I learned: The male urethral meatus (tee hee) is shaped like an ellipse. In my mind it was round, so it just shows that I know nothing. NOTHING!
Of course, this is interesting to me as well: Poor urethral dilation (the ability for the urethral tube’s muscle to relax) correlates to a low flow rate.
In an interview, one of the researchers said: "This research began as a student project when a team of urologists asked Queen Mary [Hospital] to come up with a simple non-invasive way of measuring urine flow rate that could be easily used at home where patient's urine flow rates are likely to be more typical than when urinating in hospital.”
Fifty bucks says this "student project" began with a bunch of grad students trying to see who could pee the farthest.
“Imaging of complete voiding events was conducted for a healthy male volunteer. A scale rule was held alongside and parallel to the urine stream to enable the instantaneous wavelength to be measured from the video images.”
This means that not only were they seeing who could pee the farthest, they were also taking pictures while doing it. I TOLD YOU.
Favorite part: The data obtained in the present study included inaccuracies caused by poor estimates of which are likely to be exacerbated by obesity, poor eye sight, or lack of manual dexterity.
Clever wording for, some subjects might have mis-interpreted the shape of their urine stream because they couldn’t see it for their belly, forgot to put on their glasses, or weren’t able to hold it steady. Fumbling around with it. Sprayed all over the seat. Measured in the middle of the night. Possible playing with it. But I digress.
Men, how to use this info? Keep an eye on the stream and compare it to your norm. Is it coming out slower than normal, like a trickling hose? Squirting as does a hose with a partially covered orifice? These are all indicators that the physical loads to the urinary system have changed.
"The current techniques, although very accurate, are difficult or expensive to use reliably outside of the clinic. This new approach may therefore represent a useful solution to this important medical engineering problem, allowing men to easily monitor their urine flow rate."
I could seriously kiss these researchers, because what they’ve done is done something useful for the patient. They’ve made a tool that makes it easier to take responsibility for our health.
Orifice is a weird word. And if I could, I would give a dollar to everyone who put orifice geometry of the urethral meatus @alignedandwell as their Facebook status. Confuse the crap out of your friends, won't you?