Are you waking up at night to go to the bathroom? Do you know where every bathroom is located when you go to the mall? Do suffer from a “small bladder”?
Normal bladder function is voiding 6-8 times per day, none of which should be at night. There is no such affliction as a “small bladder”. From the time we were kids, our mom’s made us go to the bathroom before we got into the car whether we had to or not! Pregnancy comes along and the baby uses our bladder as a trampoline. We get into the habit of going frequently and at night. Our bladders are like elephants – it remembers everything! These muscle memory habits can be broken.
Here are a few DON’Ts regarding bad habits that lead to bladder dysfunction. These are things every woman should know but nobody ever told us:
- JIC’ing. JIC’ing is what we call ‘just in case’ voiding. Going to the bathroom before we leave the house, before a show, before we get in the car to drive home from work. It’s that sense of feeling ‘I should to go to the bathroom right now because I might have to in 45 minutes if I don’t’. Or it’s just more convenient to go here and now.
- Hovering. Anyone out there hover over toilets in public restrooms? Just can’t bear to make contact with that unknown surface? Know that your pelvic floor can’t relax when you are hovering over the toilet. Don’t be afraid to sit in public restrooms. It is much better for your bladder health to sit down!
- DON’T do pelvic floor muscle exercises on the toilet. It disrupts the bladder muscle contraction and the normal coordinated muscle activity. Relaxing the pelvic floor while on the toilet is a learned response, so contracting it while on the toilet ‘confuses’ the bladder and can lead to more dysfunction.
- Straining. You should never have to strain to urinate. You should actually RELAX your pelvic floor.
- Post-partum women: as you know, when you are pregnant your frequency increases. Ladies need to re-train their bladder back to a normal voiding habit.
DO stay hydrated!
- If you can wait more than 4 hours to pee, you are probably dehydrated and need to look at your fluid intake.
- Hydrated tissues function better. Your bladder sphincter will be able to close faster and tighter with better elasticity. Dehydrated tissues don’t work as well.
- Many women think they have a “small bladder”, so they actually drink LESS fluid throughout the day so they won’t leak. The bladder does stretch and shrink depending upon how much fluid is present. So, if you continue to consume less fluid, the bladder does get effectively smaller, but this results in an INCREASED need to urinate. It senses fullness after only a small amount of urine is held.
- When you are dehydrated, your urine is more concentrated as is therefore an irritant to the bladder lining. This concentrated urine can irritate the bladder lining, aggravating incontinence issues you may already be facing.