5 Better Bladder Habits You Can Start Today!

March 26, 2024

Did you know, a lot of our bladder issues are actually relatively easy to fix with just a few habit changes? Did you also know that a lot of the urgency and frequency issues people experience can be related solely to bladder habits themselves?

Our brain and bladder are closely connected. Our bladder and emotions are also very closely connected (nervous/anxious pee, anyone?). Often, implementing just a few strategies can help in controlling urgency, decreasing the number of times you get up at night to urinate (void), and improving how many trips you make to the bathroom each day.

Here are 5 strategies that can help get you in control of your bladder instead of it controlling you!

1. No more than 2 bladder irritants per day

What irritates your bladder? Most of us know caffeine to be a common offender, however anything with artificial sweeteners or colors, can also be an irritant. The acidity in tea and DECAF coffee can also be very irritating. The other thing about bladder irritants- they actually interfere with the lining of your urethra (the tube you pee out of), which leaves you more prone to leakage as well.

2. Drink your water

A dehydrated bladder is almost worse than a caffeinated bladder. If you do increase your water intake, you’ll want to do this slowly (8 oz per week), or know you’ll spend more time in the bathroom for that first week or so. Don’t worry your body will adjust though!

3. Stop peeing “just in case”

Everytime you empty your bladder before it gives you the signal it’s full, you’re potentially creating a poor bladder habit. If you think about it- if you void when your bladder is half full “just in case”, your body is so much more likely to start giving you the signal to pee the next time it’s half full. That’s double the amount of trips to the bathroom each day! Now, if you’re about to get in the car to drive 5 hours, please pee before you leave, regardless if you need to or not. But the next time you’re at Target, skip the bathroom right away when you get in there unless you actually have to go.

4. Avoid hurrying when you get the urge to pee

This is where your bladder can really start to control your day. If you get a strong urge to pee, instead of running to the bathroom, try to take a few deep breaths and slowly head to the bathroom. Even try to find one a little further away. The quicker you respond to that urge, the more likely your bladder is going to give you these sudden urges. This is often the beginning of urge incontinence, where you actually start to leak on the way to the bathroom. The more you control your urges, the better control you’ll have over your bladder, and the fewer and fewer strong urges you’ll have over time.

5. Don’t push to empty

Voiding is the only time your pelvic floor is supposed to be fully turned “off”. Straining or pushing is not only hard on your organs (hi prolapse), but it also triggers the pelvic floor muscles to turn on, ultimately affecting your ability to empty. The best way to empty your bladder is feet supported on a stool or squatty potty, focus on relaxing through your stomach, pelvic floor, and hips, exhale and let your body empty on its own.

As always, an individualized assessment of your ENTIRE body from a pelvic floor therapist is the absolute best way to identify why you’re having symptoms or how to prevent them in the future, but these tips can be a helpful first step!

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