Making Changes for Your Bladder

So here it is ladies, let’s get straight down to it. Sometimes life takes hold of us, and before we know it another year has gone by, and we are still waiting for the next “Monday” to come so we can make changes to improve ourselves and our situations. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t even have time to match up the socks, let alone figure out how to make any significant life altering changes! If you are with me, let me just help with the “how to start” process for your bladder. If you have decided that you are too busy to keep going to the bathroom all day long, or all night long, and you certainly don’t have time to keep changing the TP roll, (cause you know nobody else is gonna do it!) this is your list…if not, maybe you have a girlfriend who could use some help, cause who doesn’t need a girlfriend with all the answers!

(BTW, this list is something I go over with all of my patients who go too often on the first visit!)

1. Don’t hold it, and don’t go out of habit
A normal voiding pattern is every 2-3 hours while you are awake, and once a night for every decade of life starting in your 70’s. That means that on a typical day, you should empty your bladder about 6-8 times. If you are holding your urine longer than 3 hours, you are stretching out your bladder. Your bladder is made of 3 layers of muscle, and muscle works the best when the fibers are a specific distance from each other. If you hold and stretch those fibers too far apart, the muscles will not be able to work effectively, eventually giving you a floppy bladder. Nobody likes a floppy bladder. It doesn’t empty well and can increase your risk of infection and kidney dysfunction.
If you go too often, your bladder muscles will be closer together, also not working the most effectively. Over time, this can lead to a bladder that can scar down and not be able to expand to hold normal amounts of urine. This will increase your risk of leaking. Nobody likes leaking. So do your best to urinate every 2-3 hours during the day.

2. Stress levels, keep them low
We all get there at some point…life is pulling you in 1500 directions and you can’t handle one more thing without an internal explosion! This is not lost on your bladder. Imagine the feeling that you get before a presentation, starting something new, or performing on stage…JUST LET ME GO ONE MORE TIME or I might be showing off the wet spot on my pants!! This can happen in a more subtle way when stress levels stay elevated over time…you may start to stop by the bathroom a few more times a day, until eventually you have episodes where you just can’t make it…so my advice here is RELAX, REJUVENATE, REGROUP and RESET that bladder, your pants may just depend on it!

3. Diet, pay attention to it
This is quite the 4 letter word, but something that we really need to look at in layers, not necessarily all at once. Both the fluids and the foods that you ingest affect your bladder and it’s function. Things that are grouped together as “bladder irritants” can cause your bladder to be more “irritable” which equates to more trips to the bathroom, more pads or changing clothes. Things on this list include spicy foods, acidic foods, carbonation, caffeine and alcohol to name a few. A more complete list is available under Resources on the website Another gem regarding bladder health and diet is in respect to your weight. In reality, the health of all of your body organs are linked with an appropriate weight for your height. When you are overweight, losing as little, or as much, as 10% of your body weight can significantly improve urgency and incontinence. Losing weight when needed is a great way to get your bladder under control while decreasing other health risks including diabetes and cardiac concerns, and preventing the need for surgery!

4. Sleep, get some
Even down to the last thing you do at night, your bladder is totally in sync with you. It has been shown that patients with sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, are more likely to have bladder problems, like getting up to go more at night for example. Treating these sleeping problems will often improve bladder function. So, if you aren’t sleeping, you are irritable, your bladder is irritable, and you will both be going when you should be sleeping.

The bottom line is that YOU ARE ONE WITH YOUR BLADDER, like it or not! So with the start of 2018, if you are finding yourself spending too much on toilet paper, this is where you can start before you come to see me in the office. While this list doesn't include everything we can do for your bladder, it does give you some non-complex (but not necessarily easy) things you can start on your own: try to go when you should, stress less, eat right and get some sleep!! Good luck sisters!!