The sudden urge to urinate can be debilitating. It can keep you from leaving home and enjoying your life, with the fear of a potential accident always looming.
Sometimes an overactive bladder is called urge incontinence, creating the urge to go when your bladder isn’t full. It might be possible to use a bladder workout to strengthen the bladder and regain some control over urges and when you go to the bathroom.
Here is a bladder training technique for you to try:
Keep Track: Track the times you urinate or leak urine during the course of two days. Write it down in a journal.
Assess Patterns: Calculate how many hours you wait, on average, between visits to the bathroom.
Select an Interval: Based on your general bathroom trip timing, start your training by extending your regular interval by 15 minutes. For instance, if you generally go an hour between bathroom visits, extend it to one hour and 15 minutes.
Don’t Rush: On the first day of training, empty your bladder first thing in the morning and don’t go again until your target interval time. If the time arrives before you have the urge, go anyway. If the urge hits first, remember that your bladder isn’t yet full and use whatever techniques you can to hold off. Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels can help. So can distracting yourself to help you wait another five minutes.
Extend the Interval: Once you can easily meet your interval time, extend it by another 15 minutes and continue to do so. Over the course of weeks or months, you might find that you don’t have the same urge as before.
If you’ve noticed an improvement in the 4-to-8-week range, write down the new info in a journal and compare the progress.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness reporter for Bel Marra Health, where this article was first published.