Getting your bladder fit for everyday life is just like getting any other body part fit. It needs training, patience and repetition to improve. You can regain bladder control by slow training your bladder to hold more. Being able to go the bathroom without leakage or sudden urges is something anyone deserves.
If you suffer from bladder weakness, then it’s important to know that bladder treatment options are available. Discuss your bladder problem issues with your doctor – they can help determine the cause and type of incontinence you’re experiencing, as well as assisting you in your steps to recovery.
Your bladder cycle
Normally the bladder empties only when it’s full, which should be every 3 – 4 hours. However, an overactive bladder contracts when it’s not full, forcing out small amounts of urine with little or no warning. This means frequent dashes to the bathroom… or embarrassment if you don’t make it in time. Fear of accidents may mean you pop to the loo more frequently than normal – “just in case”. And as safe as this feels, it can make things even worse.
Just like other muscles in the body, you can improve the control over your bladder by training the muscles around it. Bladder training aims to reduce the number of times you have to go to the bathroom. It helps suppress those unneeded urges to go and aims to improve your bladder to the normal 2 cup capacity.
Your bladder control programme
There are many things you can do in your everyday life to improve your bladder control, and reduce light bladder leakage, most of them are quick and easy and can be integrated into your day with no problems. Follow a schedule for going to the toilet as directed by your doctor. The overall aim is to gradually increase the time between visits by holding out a little longer each time.
- Reduce or cut out caffeine (coffee, tea, cola drinks), very sweet drinks and alcohol
- Avoid constipation by eating plenty of fibre from fruit, vegies and whole grains. Don’t use laxatives!
- Drink the recommended amount of water per day
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do pelvic floor exercises. A strong and fit pelvic floor boosts your chances of beating incontinence
Getting control begins with you keeping a bladder diary to get baseline information about your bladder function and habits. When you’ve kept your diary for a week, take it to your doctor or physiotherapist to discuss your bladder training program.
Some tricks and tips for hanging on
- Roll up a small towel, place it between your legs and sit on it. The pressure on your perineum should help manage the urge
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles
- Take deep slow breaths
- Take your mind off your things for a few minutes by doing something else such as making the bed, writing an email, or counting backwards from 100
- Sit down and curl your toes
Setbacks to regaining bladder control
Don’t be discouraged if you get setbacks day to day, or even if you have to start over. Think positively and keep trying. It does get easier with practice. Keep in mind that sometimes people doing bladder training find that things get worse before they get better, especially if there are setbacks due to:
- Being tired or run down
- Illness, including colds and flu
- Urinary tract infection (see your doctor immediately if you suspect you have an infection)
Poise has a range of products that can help while you are trying to improve your bladder control. While you are working on improving the capacity and strength of your bladder, there may be setbacks. To ensure the least amount of fuss, use Poise products to prevent any embarrassing leaks.
Remember to seek medical advice from a doctor if you have any concerns about the symptoms or other issues related to bladder control.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice from a qualified health care professional with any questions regarding your concerns.