Once emptying your bladder frequently becomes a habit, it can be very difficult to break. One approach is with bladder retraining. With time and practise this can encourage your bladder into better habits.
Firstly you need to complete a bladder diary and to study this with your physiotherapist.
A length of time (an interval) will then be chosen for how long you should wait between emptying your bladder. As it gets easier the interval can be gradually increased with guidance from your physiotherapist.
A useful idea is to choose a starting interval that is about 15 minutes longer than your typical interval for emptying your bladder. For example, if your usual interval is 1 hour then make your starting interval ‘goal’ 1 hour 15 minutes.
If you get the urge during the interval you need to try to hang on. Here are some tips to help:
- Stop, stay still and sit down if you can. Cross your legs. Press on your pelvic floor or the back of your legs.
- You can distract yourself with a mental (but not physical) task.
- Stay calm. Take deep breaths. Tell yourself ‘I can wait until it is time to go’, ‘I am in control’.
- Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as this will relax the bladder muscle and take away the urge. Squeeze as long and hard as possible.
Wait until the urgency passes (10 to 20 seconds), and then carry on with your activity.
Do not walk to the toilet with urgency. Control as above, then go but keep calm.
Do not panic. Stay away from the bathroom or running water!
Reduce your caffeine intake – it is a bladder stimulant. Choose decaffeinated tea and coffee
Aim to drink 1½ to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) of fluids spread throughout the day
Avoid alcohol, fizzy drinks and fresh citrus fruit juices which can also irritate your bladder
If you regularly get up during the night avoid drinking within two hours of bedtime
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.