Old habits die hard. They can also contribute to urinary incontinence.
Your overactive bladder (OAB) could be a result of bad bladder habits you’ve built over the years. The urgent need to find a bathroom or the onset of leaks, could be remedied by bladder training.
Bladder training can be an effective first step if you’ve recently noticed overwhelming urges to pee or urinary leaks. It’s easy to do and well worth a shot.
You may have developed a tendency, over the years, of emptying your bladder before it is full. This means going to the bathroom even when you don’t have much pee to get rid of, all the while reducing bladder tolerance.
Bladder training allows the opportunity to increase tolerance and potentially reduce the powerful and frequent urge to urinate. It might also prevent or reduce symptoms of an overactive bladder.
It’s a low-risk, low-cost approach you can try to strengthen your bladder. Here’s how to do it.
- Track how many times you need to urinate or experience a leak for a couple of days.
- Determine the average length of time you wait between each pee.
- Select an interval based on that average. A good starting point is 15 minutes. For example, if you were going every hour, extend that period to an hour and 15 minutes.
- When you wake up in the morning, empty your bladder and do not go again until your interval time has elapsed. If the time comes and you don’t have to go, go anyways. If the urge hits first, do your best to hold it until the interval has arrived.
- Using Kegel exercises or other techniques to take your mind off the urge is recommended. If there is a substantial time discrepancy, hold as long as you can before going.
- As time passes, increase your interval periods.
Keeping a diary can help you stay on track. Documenting your experience can help you recall intervals, how you felt, and how often you went.
This is a safe first step in trying to handle an overactive bladder on your own. You may need further help; using this strategy is unlikely to cause problems.