Everyone uses their bladder on a daily basis, but you may not know how to keep it healthy. Many people struggle silently with bladder issues due to embarrassment or they don’t know who to talk to about what they are struggling with on a daily basis. It can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work. Do you struggle with bladder issues? If so, read on, but also talk to your therapist at NBT. We are here to help you find relief. On a daily basis we see men and women who leak, have painful intercourse, and many other pelvic floor discomforts.
Tips for a health bladder include:
1. Hydration, hydration, hydration. This is the most important tip for a healthy bladder, but one that many people struggle with when they have episodes of incontinence. Pure water is the best and we should avoid sparkling water, Kombucha, and coffee as these may irritate the bladder and increase urination. Some common irritants are alcohol, caffeine, tomato juice, and sparkling water. It is recommended that your daily intake of water should be about half of your body weight in ounces, but make sure to STOP drinking fluids about 2 hours before bed. This will help decrease the number of times you get up to urinate during the night. If you need to take medications at night limit your water intake to less than 8 oz.
2. Know your triggers. Do you know what irritates your bladder? Keep a journal of the fluid and food items that cause you to urinate right after eating or drinking them. These are your irritants and will cause you to have increased urination frequency. Proper hydration is critical, but stay away from your irritants. Some common irritants are chocolate, sugar, lactose, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks.
3. Don’t hover or squat over the toilet. We’ve all been in a public restroom and hovered or squatted. This can be very harmful as it doesn’t allow the proper lengthening or relaxation of your pelvic floor. A hover or squat causes you to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles instead of letting them relax which is necessary to release urine or have a bowel movement. You actually will hold more urine in and this develops an unhealthy pattern. Instead of hovering we recommend to line the toilet seat with toilet paper or use the liners that are provided.
4. Determine urge vs sensation. Developing healthy bladder habits is important, so we only want to urinate when we truly have an urge otherwise we are training our bodies to have unhealthy habits. An urge is I truly have to get to the bathroom and go. Take a moment to think about whether you drank enough to have a full bladder and if you can’t hold it then go to the bathroom. If you have a sensation then wait until an urge is present. A sensation is when you can think about having to urinate, but can suppress the feeling, control it, or re-direct it with your mind.
5. Relax, Relax, Relax. Your pelvic floor needs to learn how to fully relax before adding in kegels. Using a squatty potty while on the toilet can help allow your pelvic floor to fully relax. Being guided by a therapist on proper breathing techniques can help the pelvic floor to function properly. When you breathe in you want to notice the pelvic floor relax and it should return to neutral when you breathe out. Once the pelvic floor learns how to fully relax then kegels and other pelvic floor exercises can be beneficial.
If you are tired of suffering with pelvic floor pain or leakage, let’s take that next step to helping you feel better. Contact NBT to discuss the options available to get you back to living a fully, active lifestyle.
We want to thank Dr. Kaylee Simmerman, PT, DPt over at FEMMEmpowerment and Advocacy for her tips to help all of us have a healthy bladder. Dr. Kaylee is a women’s health Physical Therapist in FL with extensive knowledge in helping women postpartum continue exercising without leakage, pain, or problems.