If you have an overactive bladder, it can be difficult to predict when to visit the bathroom. The urge to go can come on suddenly and intensely and can disrupt your way of life. In addition, making simple trips out may raise your anxiety levels out of fear of leaking or not finding a bathroom to satisfy your need.
At Urology of Greater Atlanta, we understand the difficulties you may face and offer specialized treatment to help with bladder control problems. Usually, the first line of help is bladder retraining. Combining behavioral therapy along with pelvic muscle exercises, you can regain control over your bladder.
Bladder control training will help you hold in urine for more extended periods and prevent you from accidentally leaking urine.
When Should You Do Bladder Training?
There are many reasons why a person develops an overactive bladder. Not all of them will be helped by bladder training. It is mainly used for those who have urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine.
Women are particularly affected by incontinence, especially after the changes to their bodies after childbirth and menopause. The different types of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress incontinence. You may leak urine when there is sudden pressure on your abdomen, such as when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
- Urge incontinence. Your bladder contracts even when it is not full, causing a sudden, strong urge to go to the bathroom.
- Mixed incontinence. This is when you experience both stress and urge incontinence.
- Overflow incontinence. You cannot empty your bladder completely, which leads to urine leakage.
For instances where bladder training cannot help, your health provider may prescribe medications.
How Can I Train My Bladder At Home?
Before you begin a bladder training program, you will need to keep a diary of when you go to the bathroom. You should also include when you have the urge and when you leak. This diary will then be used along with the techniques below to help gain more control of your bladder.
Schedule bathroom visits (Also known as avoiding schedule). Using your diary, note how often you are going to the bathroom. Then increase the time by about 15 minutes. Let’s take as an example that you are going to the bathroom every hour; you need to then schedule bathroom visits at every one hour and 15 minutes.
It would be best if you then used the bathroom at that scheduled time period, whether you feel the urge to go or not. Then as time goes on, you should gradually increase the amount of time between bathroom breaks.
Delayed urination. This technique helps you to deal with the urge to urinate. When you feel the urge to go, hold it for another five minutes or so. You can then gradually increase the amount of time by 10 minutes until the time between visits to the bathroom is as long as 3 – 4 hours. Y0u may need to distract your mind by counting backward from 100 or try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
If you really cannot hold it any longer, then use the bathroom but try to return to your voiding schedule. This technique is very effective in treating urge incontinence.
Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises (or pelvic muscle exercises) strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, the ones you use to start and stop the flow of urine. Pelvic floor exercises combined with other bladder retraining techniques are particularly effective in treating incontinence in women.
The exercise involves squeezing the muscles that are used to stop the flow of urine. Hold it for 5 seconds and then relax for 5 seconds. Try to increase the length of time until you reach 10 seconds of squeezing and 10 seconds of relaxing in between. You can do these while you’re sitting or laying down. Try to reach three sets of 10 contractions a day.
You can also try the following tips to regain control of your bladder:
- Limit beverages that increase urination. This may include caffeinated drinks like sodas, coffee, and tea.
- Drink less fluid before you go to bed.
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.
Keeping your diary up to date will help you and your doctor track your progress and determine how to adjust your program.
Call or book an appointment online with Urology of Greater Atlanta to learn more about overactive bladder and the many treatments available.