Tips For Better Bladder Control
Bladder control is something most people take for granted – until it’s gone. But if your bladder control could be better, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Roughly 33% of people aged 30 to 70 suffer from incontinence issues.
The most important first step to better bladder control is to find the cause, treat the problem. Make sure you see your GP or specialist to discuss how incontinence is affecting your day-to-day life. Together you can work to discover why that might be so and what you can do about it.
But there are things you can also do every day by yourself to help keep your bladder healthy and minimise problems.
1. Keep Fighting Fit.
The heavier you are, the more your weight presses on your pelvic floor and abdominal region. Eat lots of fibre, fruits and vegetables and stay active and healthy to keep your bowels regular.
2. Drink at least 1.5 litres or 8 glasses of water per day.
Unless your doctor says otherwise. This might seem counterproductive when you’re running to the bathroom so often. But reducing your fluid intake can make things worse not better, as concentrated urine will irritate your bladder’s lining.
3. Decrease caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks.
These can stimulate your bladder, giving you the urge to go to the toilet more frequently to pass smaller amounts of urine. As in most things, moderation is the key.
4. Ditch the smokes.
Smoker’s cough is bad enough without feeling like you need to go to the toilet every time you do it. Persistent coughing weakens your bladder, which can then cause bladder leakage.
5. Don’t strain when you go to the toilet.
It can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and bladder leakage which leads us to the next point.
6. Flex your floors.
Your pelvic floor muscles connect to your bladder via nerves, so training them to be stronger can help you control your bladder. It’s important to do your pelvic floor exercises 2 to 3 times per day for best results. Don’t know how? The Continence Foundation of Australia has some great how-to guides, click here to find out more.
7. Avoid foods that compromise bladder control.
Some foods can irritate the bladder, causing you to go to the toilet more frequently. Watch out for chocolate (another source of caffeine), as well as spicy or acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
8. Don’t hold back
Not emptying your bladder completely can cause infection. So, don’t hold on, let it all go!
9. But don’t go “Just in case” either.
Try to go to the toilet only when your bladder is full, and you need to go. It’s a slippery slope: frequently visiting the toilet (“just in case”) can make your bladder more comfortable voiding lower volumes of urine – so you’re actually training it to go more often.
10. Take a walk
People with fluid build-up in their legs should elevate their legs or exercise daily to promote fluid re-absorption back into the system. If walking is a problem, an alternative is chair aerobics.
11. See your GP for a urine test.
If your urine smells offensive or if you are passing small frequent amounts of concentrated urine (dark in appearance). You may have a Urinary Tract infection (UTI).
Urology and Continence Nurse