Urinary incontinence affects twice as many women than men and is very common. It’s embarrassing but you might be surprised to know the number of women and probably your friends who struggle with the same thing. The good news is there are several solutions including bladder training. Bladder training can help manage the symptoms of urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. Many people are embarrassed to talk about urinary incontinence, even with a urologist, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. With some help from your doctor, you can experience the noticeable differences that bladder training can make in your day-to-day life.
Bladder training can control wetting accidents, frequency (the need to urinate often) and urgency (the uncontrollable, sudden need to urinate) to a degree by helping you change your urination habits. When you begin, your doctor will likely ask you to keep a record of certain information, such as how often you need to urinate each day and night. That, along with other information, will help your doctor develop a bladder training program unique to you.
Some helpful, common bladder training techniques are listed below:
- Scheduled Restroom Visits: Some people find it helpful to control urination by scheduling their trips to the restroom. This works by planning to go to the restroom and urinate at set times, regardless of whether or not you feel the need to go. Over time, you can increase the amount of time in between bathroom breaks until you find a schedule that comfortably works for you.
- Kegel Exercises: These exercises are designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which will allow you to stop the flow of urine more easily. This is especially helpful for women.
- Delayed Urination: When you feel the sudden urge to urinate, try to hold your urine for another five to ten minutes. You can gradually increase the amount of time that you hold your urine until you can hold it for a few hours in between trips to the bathroom.
Some lifestyle changes can also help you keep incontinence and OAB under control, such as limiting caffeinated beverages and alcohol, and not drinking anything a few hours before bedtime.
Remember that your doctor will be able to help you find the right mixture of bladder training techniques for your unique situation. And as May is Women’s Health Month, now is the time to take charge of your health and bladder. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your urologist and take back your quality of life!