Once you know what is causing your bladder problem, you will be able to discuss possible treatments with your doctor or nurse specialist.
Healthy drinking habits/Behavioural modification
It is important to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid daily. Drink plain water, fruit juice, some fruit and herbal treas. Drinks containing caffeine; for example, coffee, strong teas and chocolate, or fizzy drinks and some fruit teas containing hibiscus can make your problem worse. Alcoholic drinks can also irritate the bladder.
Many people with urgency will get into the habit of going to the toilet often; trying to make sure they are never “caught short”. This can worsen the problem because the bladder gets used to holding less and less urine, causing it to shrink. It becomes even more sensitive and overactive.
Bladder retraining takes time, and a cure does not happen overnight, but it can be very successful. Keep a record of how often you pass urine and how much and what you drink. Keep a record of at least three days for your doctor to review. When you get the urge to urinate, hold on for a bit, just a minute or two to start with. Try to hold on a little bit longer each time you feel the urge to go. Bladder retraining slowly stretches the bladder muscles.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises
Surgery to the bladder and/ or the prostate can cause the bladder neck sphincter muscle can become weakened and make you more reliant on your pelvic floor muscle. Pelvic floor muscle exercises can be very beneficial when you are doing bladder retraining. A pelvic muscle squeeze will help you hold on longer when you have urgency and have to rush to the toilet.
The exercises can help you reduce the number of times you have to rush to the toilet. Every time you work your pelvic muscles it encourages your bladder to relax, making it easier to hold more urine.
How to find the pelvic floor muscle?
The following techniques may help you to locate your pelvic floor muscle:
- Imagine lifting your scrotum off the chair whilst in sitting.
- Imagine trying to stop urinating.
When exercising the pelvic floor muscles you should not tighten your buttocks, stomach or inner thighs.
When to perform them?
Pelvic floor exercises can be performed whilst in sitting, standing or lying position.
Follow these instructions:
- Slowly tighten your pelvic floor muscle and hold for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise up to 10 times.
- Breathe as you would normally, without holding your breath.
- Ensure all other muscles are fully relaxed especially your buttocks, stomach and shoulders.
- Tighten and relax the pelvic muscle as quickly as you can again 10 times.
You should aim to do a set of slow and fast pelvic floor exercises at regular intervals at least 10 times a day.