Mastering Bladder Control: Effective Lifestyle Approaches to Overcome Challenges
With easy lifestyle changes, bladder control may get better or help respond to medication. Let us help you understand more about your bladder issue.
If you have experienced the horror of being in public or having guests over and feeling like you constantly need to pee or god forbid you have a leakage you're probably looking for some ways to avoid this. Luckily for you, there are simple things you can try.
Doctors often call these strategies lifestyle modifications or behavior therapies. They're safe, easy, effective and inexpensive. You can give these techniques a shot before trying different types of treatment, such as medications and/or surgery.
Focus on fluids and food
The amount of liquid you intake can make a huge difference in your bladder habits, and certain foods you eat will most certainly attribute to this.
Too much fluid
Drinking too much fluid makes you urinate more often. Drinking a big amount really fast can overwhelm your bladder, giving you a strong need to having to pee.
Even the excess intake of liquids due to exercising or a lot or work outside you don't have to drink everything all at once. Try drinking less throughout the day like sticking to 16 ounces, give or take, while also with every meal and 8 ounces when not eating.
If you get up several times at night to urinate:
- Drink more of your fluids in the morning and afternoon rather than at night
- Try to avoid alcohol and beverages with caffeine, like coffee, tea and cola, these tend to increase urine production
- Remember that fluids come not only from beverages, but also from foods such as soup
Too little fluid
Not drinking enough fluid can make your pee highly concentrated with all your waste. Highly concentrated urine is dark yellow in color and has more than normal odor to it. It can mess with your bladder, making you feel like you need to pee and how often you need to do so.
Certain foods and beverages might irritate your bladder, including:
- Coffee, tea and carbonated drinks, even without caffeine
- Certain acidic fruits — oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes — and fruit juices
- Spicy foods
- Tomato-based products
- Carbonated drinks
Try to avoid these possible bladder annoyances for up to a week or two so you notice if your symptoms improve. Over time every couple days add one back into your life, jotting down any differences in how often you need to go, how much you feel like you need to go /when, or incontinence.
This doesn't mean you to go out and disregard all your most cherished foods and drinks altogether. But by limiting the amount, it could mean a world of difference.
Try bladder training
When you constantly feel like you need to go, its no surprise this has become your norm and just go all the time. Sometimes hitting the toilet even if you dont have to go just in case. “Pee Panties” are a great way to mitigate the issue while you work on your techniques to overcome this issue. When you ignore the issue for a long time, your bladder starts to tell your brain the "full" message even though you don't have a full tank, giving you the urge to pee when you really dont have to.
Bladder training, or retraining, involves adjusting your habits. You usually make it to the toilet on your own set schedule, even when you don't even need to go. This helps make the time in between going longer and longer. Just as if a jogger was training to run a marathon. It's all about taking your time. This gives you a hand with maintaining your control rather than thinking you need to pee.
A bladder-training program usually follows these basic steps:
- Identify your pattern. For a few days, keep a diary in which you note every time you urinate. Your doctor can use this diary to help you make a schedule for your bladder training.
Extend your urination intervals. Use your bladder journal so you can see how long it takes in between urination. Take that information and try to lengthen that by 15 minutes. When you go every hour, make that 15 minutes longer each time.
Make the trips to the toilet longer and longer until you can make it to two to three hours, and so on. As we said above, take your time, this isn't a rushes process. This will ensure you have the best success in your journey of bladder control.
Stick to your schedule. Once start a routine, keep to it! Go pee right when you wake up. After this, if you get an urge and it's not time for you to go, wait it out, you got this. Give your mind something else to do or use some kind of relaxation method, like deep breathing or low-movement yoga.
If you start to lose control of it, hit the bathroom quickly, then go back to your routine.
We highly recommend you trust the process and the fact your improving every day by keeping control of your bladder if you don't make it the first few times.
Strengthen your pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter help control urination. You can strengthen these muscles when you do pelvic floor exercises on a regular, also known as Kegels.
The pelvic floor muscles are the valve that moves your pee from the bladder. These muscles, in turn, support the bladder during your everyday activities like standing, walking, lifting things, and or sneezing.
- Practice Kegel exercises. Ok, let's start with the basics. Squeeze your pelvic muscles, like when you're holding your pee. Do this for three to four seconds. Release for a count of three to four and repeat this several times in succession. Your physician may recommend that you practice sets of these exercises three or four times a day, if possible. Do this while also incorporating different positions, such as lying down, sitting and standing.If you are unsure you are doing them correctly or it doesn't feel right, ask your physician or nurse to give you some tips or tricks, or examples. Ask about a physical therapist that knows specifically about these types of exercises
- Biofeedback. Biofeedback can help train pelvic floor muscles. Sensors placed near the muscles transmit exertion levels to a computer, which displays the levels on the screen. This immediate feedback may help you master Kegel exercises more quickly because you can see whether you're using the correct muscles. Biofeedback can be done with a professional or with a home device.
- Vaginal weights. Cone-shaped weights are another option used to help with Kegel exercises. You place a weight in your vagina and contract your pelvic floor muscles to keep it from falling out. Many cones come in sets of varying weights, increasing to heavier weight over time, just like a weightlifter would do.