From adolescence through childbearing years to menopause, bladder issues can affect us at any stage
If you’re experiencing bladder leakage, frequent urination, constipation, or pelvic pain, you’re not alone. Bladder issues are common, but that doesn’t mean they’re normal. Childbirth and getting older can be contributing factors, but the symptoms are often correctable or manageable through education, exercise and physical therapy.
6 tips to improve bladder health
- Drink 6 to 8 Cups of Water a Day
Although you might think you should limit fluid intake to ease your urgency, drinking water helps eliminate bladder irritants and can actually prevent the urgency or frequency. Drink throughout the day, and stop three to four hours before bedtime.
- Do Kegels
Strengthening the pelvic muscles around the bladder, kegels can be done anytime, anywhere, but they must be done correctly to see results. Squeeze as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine (without tensing your thigh or stomach muscles). Once you know where to flex, tighten these muscles for 10 seconds, then release for 10 seconds. Do 30 kegels, 2x daily.
- Increase Fiber Intake
A fiber-rich diet, as well as drinking enough water, can help prevent constipation and keep you regular.
- Eliminate Possible Irritants
Chocolate, coffee, tea, soda, alcohol, spicy foods, highly acidic foods (like citrus fruits and juices and tomato-based products), and aspartame-based sweeteners can irritate the bladder.
- Keep a Diary
Track how frequently you empty your bladder to help us diagnose your condition as well as identify symptoms and potential dietary irritants. Record what, how much, and when you eat and drink. Write down when you go and note any incontinence episodes.
Thank you, Northern!
“Going to the bathroom non stop and dealing with urinary leakage had become a way of life. My condition had become so severe that I’d had surgery to put a spinal nerve stimulator in my spine to help reduce the urgency and frequency of going to the bathroom. The surgery was helpful but didn’t make my symptoms go away. It was at this point that my urologist referred me to a physical therapist.
I started seeing Terri who taught me various exercises for my bladder. Being able to learn to control the muscles made such a difference! Even with my primary medical history of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and my bladder falling down, it’s been so helpful to not have urinary incontinence issues. After implementing the exercises into my routine, I don’t go to the bathroom as often and I’m not getting up to go as many times at night. I’ve been able to sit through events at church and travel further in the car without my husband needing to stop for me to use the bathroom. I’m so appreciative of Terri and the team at Northern!” Cedar Springs patient
Bladder issues can be difficult to talk about, but we have specialists that are here for you. Email Melissa, one of our bladder health specialists, with any questions you might have.
“I didn’t realize that you could provide help for problems like incontinence and other women’s issues. Previously, when I thought of physical therapy, I limited it to skeletal problems like bones and muscles. Not any more. YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING!” – Greta H., Sparta patient