3 Simple Steps to Train Your Bladder To Reduce Pee Urgency
Do you find yourself running to the bathroom when you have the urge to pee, scared you are not going to make it? Do you almost pee your pants when you are unlocking your door, pulling into the driveway or when you see the toilet? Don't worry, you are not alone.
Urge Urinary Incontinence
These are all symptoms of urgency or urge incontinence (if you do leak urine). Urge Urinary Incontinence is the term used to describe the loss of bladder control that specifically occurs when someone has a strong sensation of needing to pee and is trying to get to a toilet.
First let's talk about normal bladder health. It is normal to:
- Pee 4-6 times per day
- Pee 0-1 times per night
- Drink about 2 liters of water per day
- Feel an urge to pee that slowly increases
- Be able to get to the toilet without leaking
Why does urgency happen?
Normally as your bladder fills with liquid it stays relaxed and your pelvic floor muscles contract until it is time to go and you are already sitting on the toilet. Then a reflex happens that relaxes your pelvic floor muscles and contracts your bladder muscle. With urgency the bladder muscle is contracting prematurely. Pelvic floor muscle tension or weakness can both contribute to this issue. Therefore it is not recommended that you start doing any form of kegal exercises before seeing a pelvic floor physical trainer (PT) so you do not worsen the problem. You can find a pelvic floor PT near you at Pelvic Guru or Pelvic Rehab.
3 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Pee Urgency
For specific help tailored to you I recommend you see a pelvic floor physical therapist. But here are some simple ways you can begin to retrain your bladder and reduce the urgency.
Sip water throughout the day instead of chugging
Drinking too much fluid causes your kidneys to produce urine at a very fast rate, increasing the chance you will have a bladder spasm.
Reduce caffeine intake
For some people caffeine can cause bladder spasms to be much stronger than usual and occur at smaller bladder volumes than they normally would. Reducing your caffeine may reduce the degree to which you experience urgency and leakage on your way to the toilet.
It is important to note, however, if you currently consume a large amount of caffeine, try to reduce your intake gradually so that you do not experience headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
Stop going to the bathroom "just in case"
Going to the bathroom “just in case” overtime can train your bladder to empty at smaller and smaller volumes. Don’t go unless you feel the urge to go. Times where is it okay to go “just in case” include before and after sex, before bed, or if you are going on a car trip where there will be no access to a bathroom for more than your average void interval (time between peeing).
Other treatments that can be helpful include:
- Pelvic floor physical therapy
- Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) of the nerves that supply the pelvic floor works to activate sensory fibers that cause inhibition of bladder voiding via a reflex mechanism in the spinal cord
- Certain medications that calm your bladder
- Bladder botox injections to calm your bladder
- Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation
Photo courtesy of Urology Care Foundation
Xoxo - Dr. Magdalen
Written by Dr. Magdalen Link PT
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