4 Tips for A Healthy Pelvic Floor & Bladder
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Your bladder is a very trainable organ in your body, it can pick up on good and bad habits very easily. It starts in our younger years when we are first potty trained. Over time, we are able to transition from using diapers to going to the bathroom without the help of our mom or dad. However, as we continue to age, it becomes very easy to train your bladder into either really good habits or less than ideal routines. But who is really telling us what is right or wrong when it comes to our bladder? Let’s talk about a few ways you can easily improve your bladder health!
Tip #1: Always sit down on the toilet (yes, ALWAYS!)
This one may seem simple, but I will be the first to tell you that I spent most of my teenage years and early 20’s hovering over the toilet. I don’t think it was until I went to my first Herman and Wallace Pelvic Floor Course that I learned I should stop this habit.
I was taught by my mom who was likely taught by her mom that we should hover over the toilet when going to the bathroom in public. I have been in my fair share of gas station bathrooms with questionable cleaning standards. This definitely reinforced my fear of sitting down on the toilet. Sure, if a bathroom had a toilet seat cover I may have been more likely to sit. However, usually I was in a hurry and did not want to take the time to worry about covering the seat and then sitting down. As I once learned from Michelle Lyons in a course, the germs on the toilet seat are not going to jump off and crawl their way into an area you are worried about. It is worth it to sit down. When you hover over the toilet seat, your leg and glute muscles are working to hold you in a squat position, but so is your pelvic floor. Remember, as we talked about in this blog, your pelvic floor is working to stabilize you but needs to relax in order to allow the bladder to empty. It’s pretty hard to relax and urinate when your body is in that squat position.
So, next time you are going to the bathroom in public, take the time to sit down on the seat. If there aren’t any toilet coverings, use toilet paper. I promise this will be worth it in protecting your pelvic floor long term!
Tip #2: Stop Power Peeing
We all know those people when we go into a bathroom at work and can hear them forcefully pushing their pee out. You may be one of them. I know I have been guilty a time or two, especially if I only have a few short minutes between patients in the clinic. Your pelvic floor muscles are not designed to push pee out of the bladder. So next time you are going to the bathroom, sit down, allow the pelvic floor muscles to relax and try not to force your pee out.
Tip #3: No Just In Case (JIC) Peeing
Do you go to the bathroom before you leave your house to run errands? Before working out at the gym (especially if there is a lot of running or jumping?) Do you find yourself going to the bathroom multiple times before bed? All of these are examples of “JIC” peeing. Anytime you are doing this, you may be training your bladder to be “small.” For example, let’s hypothetically say your bladder can hold 100 ounces of water. However, you void before you go to the gym every day when your bladder is only 25% full. Now, every time your bladder fills to 25 ounces it will signal to your brain that it is time to void. Over time, this can lead to an increase in how often you are going to the bathroom during the day (or at night). Being mindful of when you urinate and trying to eliminate JIC peeing will allow you to have more control over your bladder.
Tip #4: Drink Plenty of Fluids
Did you know that you should be drinking at least half of your body weight in fluid ounces each day? Staying hydrated is super important to keep a healthy bladder. Sometimes, certain foods or drinks can be irritating to the lining of our bladder. Every body is different and every bladder is different so not every bladder is irritated by the same thing. However, by staying well hydrated we can decrease some of this irritation. You should be emptying your bladder every 2-4 hours. If you are voiding less frequently than that, it may be a sign that you are dehydrated. Challenge yourself to start drinking a little more water each day!
If you have more questions about your bladder function, you can always talk to one of our pelvic floor physical therapists.