Bladder Control: Life Strategies

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    Simple lifestyle changes may improve bladder control or enhance response to medication. Find out what you can do to help with your bladder control problem.

    By Mayo Clinic Staff see

    If you’ve been struggling with the embarrassment and discomfort of a bladder control problem, you may be looking for ways to improve it. Fortunately, there are simple strategies you can try.

    We strongly recommend you seek the help and advice of a trained pelvic floor physiotherapist and they can be found privately or via the NHS. A visit to your GP or a Google search is the first step to perfecting your pelvic floor! We suggest you try these techniques before other types of treatment, such as medications or surgery.

    Focus on fluids and food

    How much fluid you drink can influence your bladder habits, and so might certain foods you eat.

    Too much fluid

    Drinking too much fluid makes you urinate more often. Drinking too much too quickly can overwhelm your bladder, creating a strong sense of urgency.

    Even if you need to drink more because you exercise a lot or work outdoors you don’t have to drink all fluids at once. Try drinking smaller amounts throughout the day, such as 16 ounces (473 milliliters) at each meal and 8 ounces (237 milliliters) between meals.

    If you get up several times at night to urinate:

    • Drink more of your fluids in the morning and afternoon rather than at night
    • Skip alcohol and beverages with caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola, which increase urine production
    • Remember that fluids come not only from beverages, but also from foods. You should always stay hydrated don’t think that cutting down your fluid intake is the answer, your body will adapt to the increase of fluid so in  a very short space of time you will find that you won’t need to go to the loo as often as you thought you would.

    Too little fluid

    Drinking too little fluid can lead to a buildup of body waste products in your urine. Highly concentrated urine is dark yellow and has a strong smell. It can irritate your bladder, increasing the urge and frequency with which you need to go.

    STAY HYDRATED, it’s good for your skin, energy levels and a multitude of other things too.

    Bladder irritants

    Certain foods and beverages might irritate your bladder, everyone is different but the main culprits tend to be:

    • Coffee, tea and carbonated drinks, even without caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Certain acidic fruits — oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes — and fruit juices
    • Spicy foods
    • Tomato-based products
    • Carbonated drinks
    • Chocolate

    Consider avoiding these possible bladder irritants for about a week to see if your symptoms improve. Then gradually — every one to two days — add one back into your diet, noting any changes in urinary urgency, frequency or incontinence.

    You might not have to eliminate your favorite foods and drinks entirely. Simply cutting down on the amount might help..

    Try bladder training

    When you have an overactive bladder, you can get used to urinating frequently or at the slightest urge. Sometimes, you might visit the toilet when you don’t have the urge because you want to avoid an accident. After a while, your bladder begins sending “full” messages to your brain even when it’s not full, and you feel like you have to urinate.

    Bladder training, or retraining, involves adjusting your habits. You go to the toilet on a set schedule — even if you have no urge to urinate — gradually increasing the time between urination. This allows your bladder to fill more fully and gives you more control over the urge to urinate.

    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. Using your bladder diary, determine the amount of time between urinating. Then try extending that by 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Do it gradually so you can build up the time between trips to the loo until you reach intervals of two to four hours. Be sure to increase your time limit slowly to give yourself the best chance for success.
    • Stick to your schedule. Once you’ve established a schedule, do your best to stick to it. Urinate immediately after you wake up in the morning. Thereafter, if an urge arises, but it’s not time for you to go, try to wait it out. Distract yourself or use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing.
If you feel you’re going to have an accident, go to the toilet but then return to your schedule.

    Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed the first few times. Keep practicing, and your ability to maintain control is likely to increase.

    Pelvic floor exercises.

    There is lots of advice on the net about the best way to do these exercises offered by trained physios. We follow a number of people on twitter who we like, below is a short list of some of them, so have a look and decide for yourself.

    @Squeezyapp @leakylily  @pelvicroar @HelloJunoHQ @WhiteCircle9 @pelvicfloorPT @PelvicWellness


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