How To Stop Overactive Bladder - Help for Urgency, Frequency and Leaks!
Do you ever find yourself searching for bathrooms everywhere you go, with on overwhelming urge you may not make it to the bathroom in time?
Photo by Sergio Briones on Unsplash
Planning your life around the bathroom and your bladder is interfering with you living your life fully. Here are my top tips to help you take back control so you can overcome those pesky leaks and the need to find a bathroom everywhere you go.
The following video is about the steps to take to stop an overactive bladder. We will also provide the information below the video for you to reference.
The Vagina Coach
The first step in bladder retraining is to complete a bladder diary for 3-4 days.
In your bladder diary, you're going to -
- record all of the food and liquid that you drink.
- note when you have to go to the bathroom (the time).
- how long was your stream (in seconds)
- any sensations of urgency or any leaking
- and what activity were you doing at the time?
Once your bladder diary is completed, the first thing you're going to do is -
- look for trends with regards to what you put in your body to help you point out potential triggers in your foods (caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, acidic foods, chocolate).
- you may also want to do some diet evaluation with a nutritionist and do some food sensitivity testing to see what may be aggravating your bladder.
- Once you have identified some of the more common triggers for you, you can then make decisions about whether you eliminate that food or drink, or if you want to reduce it.
The next thing with your bladder diary, is to look for trends in habits and behaviours like -
- peeing ‘just in case’.
- pee every time you leave the house
- before or during exercise class
- pee several times before you go to bed at night
Peeing ‘just in case’ trains the bladder to signal you more often. So, once you've done that a few times, your bladder starts to identify being full before it is actually full.
A full bladder is about 1.5 cups of liquid (urine). Get a set of measuring cups (just for the bathroom) and measure how much urine comes out when you pee. If it's about a cup and a half, then you could consider that a full bladder. I often hear from people “I feel like I need to go but then only a little bit comes out”. You can also measure in time. A full bladder would be about 10-15 seconds of a steady stream. Anything less than that, you don't actually have to go.
How many times a day should I Pee?
Normal voiding is every two and a half to four hours which is about 5-9 times a day and ideally not nighttime waking. We can use the bladder diary to point out when we might be experiencing those signals and maybe even responding to them when in actual fact the bladder is not full and simply needs to be retrained to stop signalling you so often.
This might sound strange, but part of bladder retraining involves talking to your bladder. This can be done in your head or you can talk out loud. When you're using your bladder diary and know that two and a half to four hours is the normal window if you experience a sensation or urge to have to go to the bathroom, you can look at our bladder diary and say,
“well, I just went 45 minutes ago, I haven't had any bladder irritants, and I haven't had a large volume of liquid, So I don't have a full bladder. What you're going to do is say, ‘bladder, I know you're not full. We just went to the bathroom 45 minutes ago. I haven't had any irritants. I haven't had a huge volume of liquid. I know that in the past, I have contributed to getting you to signal me more often, but I'm going to take back control and get to that window of two and a half to four hours.’ Again, it might seem a little bit odd, but it can be really helpful and put you back in control.”
Distract Your Bladder
Another thing you can do while you are retraining and talking to your bladder is to use some distraction measures. One common distraction measure is to curl your toes. As you are talking to your bladder and trying to overcome that urge, (the bladder signal will last about 15 to 30 seconds). talk to your bladder and curl your toes under. This interrupts the signalling up to the bladder and can also be a distraction measure that can help calm that sensation. Another distraction measure would be calf raises. Talk to your bladder and go up and down onto your toes.
A final distraction measure is Kegel exercises.
It is even more powerful if you do this in front of a toilet. WheVagina n you get the urge, you can walk into the bathroom and look at the toilet. Talk to your bladder, use your distraction techniques, and wait for the signal to subside. Then walk away like the bladder boss you are!
Pelvic Floor Exercise
A final tip as part of your bladder retraining is to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This can be done with Kegel exercises. Those are one form of pelvic floor exercise. I also recommend that you seek help and treatment from a pelvic floor physical therapist. They, in my opinion, are the gold standard in terms of learning how to do kegels, but they are also the best people to see to have your pelvic floor evaluated so that you know what types of pelvic floor exercises are best for you. When we have strong, supple, responsive muscles, they can better control those urges and they can also protect you from those leaks that sometimes happen with strong urges as well.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE
Many women believe that because they have had this problem for years that there is no hope. With consistent attention to bladder retraining and a pelvic floor exercise program you CAN make change no matter your age or stage. Check out my program for Incontinence for further support.