6 Surprising Tips to Help You “Hold It”
By: Angela Renner
The National Association for Incontinence says one in four women over the age of 18 have times when they leak pee without meaning to.
Urinary incontinence, or being unable to hold your bladder when you need to pee, is twice as common in women as in men, but it can be a struggle for all.
Here are 6 little-known tips men and women can try at home that may help:
- Stay hydrated. For most people, at least six to eight glasses of water a day is best. Limiting your fluid intake to avoid using the bathroom can backfire. If you are dehydrated, this can make the urine in your bladder more concentrated. This irritates the bladder tissue and can make you have to go more often than if your pee is diluted.
- Get help for your constipation. If you have a hard time pooping, it can affect your pelvic floor muscles. Frequent straining and pressure against the pelvic floor muscles can stretch and weaken the muscles. Talk to your doctor about ways to get a handle on your constipation.
- Ditch “JIC”-ing. AKA going to the bathroom “Just In Case.” You should try to wait until your bladder is full before you empty it. Not allowing your bladder to fill completely can decrease the amount of urine it can actually hold, in turn, making you have to go to the bathroom more often.
- Squeeze the right muscles. When you need to go to the bathroom and you’re worried you might not get there in time, squeeze the muscles around your vagina or penis and your rectum as if you’re trying to stop the flow of pee or trying to keep from passing gas. These are your pelvic floor muscles. You should be able to squeeze the muscles without squeezing your knees together, squeezing your buns, or holding your breath.
- “KNACK.” If you have trouble with leaking pee when you cough, sneeze, laugh, lift, jump or do other stress-related or effort-related things, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles just before and during the activity.
- Quiet the bladder. If you have a sudden, strong urge to empty your bladder, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles a few quick times. This can help quiet the bladder down, and the strong urge will pass. Then you can calmly walk at a normal pace to the restroom to empty your bladder.
These tips can help, but if they aren’t enough, schedule a visit with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) at BCHC by calling 402-395-5013. Your PCP can talk to you about your options, which may include a referral to Physical Therapy (PT) or Urology.
At Physical Therapy, we can do an evaluation that involves pelvic floor muscle strength, endurance, core strength, leg and hip strength, and alignment issues that might be causing problems.
We can also teach you about the pelvic floor muscle anatomy and how it works as well as proper techniques for pelvic floor muscle and/or bladder training.
If you’re still having trouble, a consult with the urologist, Dr. Johannes, may be helpful. He offers a specialty clinic in Albion twice a month to save you time and travel. Dr. Johannes can explain your surgical choices.
During summer, you don’t want to worry about whether you can hold your bladder. Hopefully these tips will help. If not, give us a call.