Urinary incontinence is also known as nurse’s bladder or teacher’s bladder, due to the busy nature of these jobs. These habits begin in the first place because we are busy. We start to listen to our bodies less and less. Isn’t it ironic that we praise our children for listening to their bladders and bowels but we don’t listen to our own?!
Urinary urgency or urge incontinence happens when the bladder contracts when it is not supposed to, resulting in subsequent leakage of urine. This can be due to medical reasons, but more often than not it is caused by poor bladder habits and weak pelvic floor muscles. Retraining your bladder and using the prevention tips below are very useful in fixing and avoiding urgency incontinence.
To decrease the urge to urinate, perform pelvic floor contractions (otherwise known as kegels) to cause inhibition of the bladder. When we inhibit the bladder it stops the bladder from spasming which is what creates the urgency feeling to pee. To make this successful, you want to stop where you are, relax your body, and practice contracting and relaxing our pelvic floor.
When you experience a strong urge to urinate, stop whatever you are doing. Don’t rush to the nearest bathroom right away, rather stop where you are, relax (sit down if possible) and perform the technique outlined below before rushing to the bathroom.
Perform a series of pelvic floor contractions called quick flicks, by activating your pelvic floor and releasing it. Hold for one count, release for one count. If this does not work for you attempt to hold a pelvic floor contraction until you feel a decrease in the urge.
Once the urge subsides, relax your muscles. Take a deep breath (diaphragmatic breath) and proceed to the restroom.
If the urge returns, repeat the steps above. This may require you to stop walking on your way to the bathroom.
You can also try to stand outside the door of the restroom and repeat technique to calm down the urge.
Teach your bladder who is boss! Once you make it to the bathroom, slowly pull your pants down. Sit on the toilet and don’t allow yourself to pee as soon as your bottom hits the toilet. Try not sitting on the toilet until the strong urge subsides.
Tips for Treating Urge Incontinence
Train your naughty bladder. Normal urination frequency is every 2-5 hours or 4-7 times/day. Don’t go to the bathroom before you leave the house just because you are leaving. Don’t go right when you get home just because you get home. Avoid going as soon as you get somewhere if this is habit for you.
Notice what your triggers are (i.e. pulling into your driveway and you suddenly have to pee, putting your key in the door and you suddenly have to pee). Once you realize what your trigger is, do not go to the bathroom right away and perform the steps listed above.
Sit on the toilet with relaxed upright posture (no hovering!)
Do not push or strain while urinating. Use diaphragmatic breathing on the toilet and put your phone down.
Avoid or limit bladder irritants- i.e. caffeine, alcohol, citrus.
Get your bowels on board too. Avoid constipation.
Length of urination should be at least 8-10 seconds.
Never try to stop the flow once you are start peeing.