Understanding Bladder Retraining
Whether you have incontinence or an overactive bladder, it can be annoying, embarrassing and a nuisance. In some cases, it can even interfere with your quality of life. There are incontinence products to keep you comfortable. Treatments for incontinence and an overactive bladder are also available that include medication and surgery. But if you’re looking for a medication free and noninvasive way to treat an overactive bladder or incontinence, bladder retraining may be something to consider.
What is Bladder Retraining?
Going to the bathroom seems simple enough. After all, you have been potty-trained since you were a toddler. What more could there be to it? Bladder retraining is a type of behavior therapy that may improve symptoms of incontinence. Bladder retraining can be used in conjunction with pelvic floor exercises and lifestyle strategies to treat incontinence and an overactive bladder.
Bladder retraining can decrease the number of times you need to use the restroom each day. It may also encourage larger volumes of urine and increase bladder capacity. The technique can also decrease feelings of urgency.
Fixed Voiding and Delayed Urination
Usually, you don’t make an appointment to use the restroom. Instead, you feel the urge to urinate and hit the bathroom to do your business. But scheduled voiding is a technique to help you increase the time between bathroom visits.
Start by keeping a diary and recording when you use the restroom. Once you determine how frequently you urinate, develop a voiding schedule that you can manage without leaking urine.
Empty your bladder at the intervals you choose even if you do not feel the urge to go. Increase the time between bathroom visits gradually. Try to avoid urinating until your next scheduled voiding time. For example, if you urinate every 60 minutes, increase the time by ten or 15 minutes. Gradually increase the time between bathroom visits, so that you can hold your urine comfortably for at least three hours.
Follow the schedule during waking hours. You do not have to set your alarm and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Keep in mind, scheduled voiding and delayed urination may take about three months to see results.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Along with delayed urination and scheduled voiding, performing pelvic floor exercises may help decrease incontinence. Kegel exercises are one exercise that can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Exercises are performed by squeezing the muscle that stops the flow of urine. Tighten the muscles and hold the contraction for about five or six seconds and release. Repeat the exercise about four or five times twice a day.