Bladder incontinence can be crippling. It can strip away your confidence to comfortably leave home for exercise, sit through a movie, or even enjoy life.
It’s easy to take bladder control for granted, but you can lose your grip as you get older. Thankfully, you might be able to limit its impact on your life by retraining your bladder.
Bladder training is a form of behavior therapy designed to treat urinary incontinence. It can help relieve stress and help you regain comfort and confidence, leaving the worry of leaks and urges to find a bathroom behind.
But it isn’t necessarily easy. It takes a measured approach that requires adherence, dedication, and a strong will to succeed.
Scheduling, journaling, exercise, and mind control all play central roles in bladder training. These components are the recipe for regaining control of your bladder, enhance confidence, and promote a higher quality of life.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start journaling: Write down how often you need to urinate, how much urine comes out, if you’ve emptied your bladder, how long you can wait between trips to the bathroom, and how badly you felt you had to go.
- Discuss this information with your healthcare provider.
- Empty your bladder immediately upon waking. This marks the beginning of the training schedule.
- Set specific times to go and wait until they arrive before going. If you don’t have to go by the time your scheduled bathroom interval has arrived, go anyways, being sure to empty the bladder fully.
- If the urge hits before your designated time, attempt suppression techniques. These include relaxation techniques like mindfulness or deep breathing or using Kegels to tighten muscles in the pelvic floor. Sit down if possible.
- If the urge cannot be suppressed, wait an additional five minutes before slowly making your way to the bathroom.
- Once you’ve met your goals, progress is required. This will involve adding an additional 15- to 30-minutes of time between intervals. Weekly increases are ideal and should hopefully result in an ability to hold urine for 3-4 hours.
Practicing Kegel exercises daily to strengthen bladder muscles may contribute to better bladder control in a shorter time frame.