Bladder control is one topic many don’t like to talk about, but it’s also a problem many men and women of all ages experience. Although it’s more common with women than men, all bladder control problems are not alike. Some problems are temporary, while others are caused by weak muscles or damaged nerves.
Urinary incontinence is not a disease, and the good news is that you can do something about it. If you’re experiencing bladder control problems, here are three ways you can improve your bladder’s control.
Certain foods and drinks can aggravate the bladder and cause spasms. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which increase the amount of urine your body makes. Artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas and diet foods, as well as acidic fruits (and juices), irritate the bladder and increases the feelings of urgency. Start by eliminating one item per week and see if it helps reduce symptoms. By adjusting your diet accordingly, you are one step closer to regaining bladder control.
Also, watch how much water you’re drinking. If you’re drinking the often-recommended six to eight glasses a day, that could be too much. However, if you’re not drinking enough water, you can get dehydrated, which leads to constipation and bladder irritation. When determining how much water you should drink, we recommend that you let thirst be your guide.
Bladder retraining requires you to learn how to hold on longer and longer. First, determine how often you’re going to the bathroom. Choose a wait time between bathroom trips and gradually increase it. For example, if you’re going to the bathroom every two hours, schedule visits every two hours and 15 minutes and go regardless if you feel the urge to go. Gradually increase the amount of time between breaks, and slowly, your bladder will learn to hold more urine longer.
Involuntary urine leaks can happen when the pelvic floor muscles are weak. Kegel exercises – flexing and releasing your pelvic muscles – help strengthen the muscles that control the urethra. Kegels are one of the simplest ways to control urinary incontinence and the most preferred treatment among women. You can perform Kegels anywhere at any time. Try three or four sets of 10 contractions a day for three to six weeks before seeing results.
If you believe you’re experiencing bladder control problems, recognize the symptoms and don’t let embarrassment keep you from seeking a doctor’s help. Click Here to schedule an appointment.Schedule a tour to see Lynn's novel approach to physical therapy.