Regaining bladder control
If you want to get fit for a marathon you need to train up, and getting your bladder fit for everyday life is just the same. You can train it to hold more without leaking or getting sudden urges to race to the bathroom and improve your bladder control.
Regaining Bladder Control
Incontinence in women is a common problem, but fewer than 40% of individuals seek medical advice. If you suffer from bladder weakness then it’s important to know that bladder treatment options are available. Take a look at the pelvic floor exercises we have on video or try the downloadable bladder diary to help with your bladder training.
Always discuss your bladder problem issues with your health care professional. They can help determine your cause and type of incontinence, as well as assisting you in your steps to recovery.
Get control of your bladder, because the last thing you want to do is let bladder weakness get in the way of doing the things you love.
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, and can mean embarrassment if you don’t make it in time. Fear of accidents may mean you pop to the loo more frequently, “just in case”. And this will 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 capacity to the normal 2 cupfuls, without any leaking or mad dashes to the loo.
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:
- Reduce or cut out caffeine (coffee, tea, cola drinks), very sweet drinks and alcohol
- Avoid constipation. Get your bowels healthy with plenty of fibre from fruit, vegies and whole grains. Don’t use laxatives as these could make incontinence worse
- Try to only go to the toilet when you really need to, not ‘just in case’
- Drink around 1.5 litres of fluid a day
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do pelvic floor exercises. A strong and fit pelvic floor boosts your chances of beating incontinence
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you wake up and immediately before going to bed at night
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, in the same way as sitting on your hands did when you were a small child
- 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 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.