• Emily Reul, PT, DPT

5 Tips for Bladder Health

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Hello friends! November is Bladder Health Month. The bladder and the pelvic floor work together to allow you to pee (or hold it in when you need to), but sometimes they aren’t on the same page which can cause leaks or urgency to go.

Today we are going to talk about a five tips for a healthy bladder.

1. Don’t Kegel When You Pee

You may have heard of the pee test where you try to do a Kegel to stop the flow of urine. While this can be a way to see if you’re able to engage your pelvic floor, it’s not something you want to do on a regular basis.

The pelvic floor muscles need to be tight to close off your urethra (the opening where pee comes out) in order to keep pee in. To allow pee to come out, the pelvic floor muscles need to relax. Squeezing your pelvic floor muscles (or doing a Kegel) while you are emptying your bladder sends confusing messages and may prevent the bladder from emptying. This can even cause more serious problems later on.

Instead, make sure to relax your pelvic floor and let urine flow in a solid steady stream.

If you’re straining to empty, watch these short videos to learn more about why this happens and how to fix it.

2. Don’t Hover Over the Toilet

I know, public restrooms can be pretty gross sometimes, but hovering over the toilet while you pee prevents the pelvic floor muscles from being able to contract. Many of your muscles are engaged to hold you over the toilet, and your pelvic floor muscles contract as part of that stability.

Use seat covers or disinfectant wipes on the seat before you sit down and relax.

3. Don’t Hold It In Too Long & Don’t Go Just In Case

Your bladder is a muscle and it stretches as it fills up with urine. If you hold it in too long, typically more than 5 hours, you can overstretch the bladder. If this happens over a long period of time, it can lead to dysfunction in the bladder. (Siracusa, 2018)

On the opposite end, you don’t want to go just in case. We’re probably all guilty at one time or another of going just because we are leaving the house, or any “just because” reason. When we go just because, we teach our bladder to void more frequently. If this is done over long periods of time, it can lead to urinary urgency and leakage. (Siracusa, 2018)

Keeping a bladder diary can be a great way to help you keep track of how often you are going.