• Katie Moise PT, DPT

Do You Really Have A "Small" Bladder?

Have you ever told yourself that you have a small bladder and that is why you go to the bathroom so often? Do you know how often you should be going to the bathroom during the day?

Healthy Bladder Habits

Normal bladder habits are often not talked about and it is hard to know what is normal versus what is not normal. The good news is that the bladder is a very trainable organ (so cool!) which means we can train it into good as well as less than ideal habits. However, we have to know normal voiding frequencies to know how to start training our bladder into better habits. So, let’s start there!

For a normal, healthy bladder, you should be urinating every two to four hours. This means in a 24 hour period, you should void six to eight times each day. At night, it is not considered normal to have to wake up more than once each night to urinate. Sleep is extremely important for your overall health, so unless you are pregnant, I really aim to get my patients sleeping through the night without waking to pee. If you find yourself running to the bathroom every 30 minutes to an hour, this would be classified as an increase in urinary frequency.

There are many reasons that may lead to an increase in frequency of urination: bladder irritants, overactivity of your pelvic floor muscles as well as habits that have likely developed over time. When you go to the bathroom frequently, you may even convince yourself it is because of your “small bladder.” Today, I want to talk about one particular habit that many, including myself, can be guilty of doing daily. This habit can lead to us peeing more often and feeling like we have a small bladder.

"Just In Case (JIC)" Peeing

Do you ever find yourself going to the bathroom “just in case (JIC)?” This JIC voiding can occur before a workout class, before leaving the house to run errands, before boarding a plane or even before bed. For me, I was super guilty of JIC peeing before bed. I would complete my bedtime routine, go to the bathroom, and then get in bed to read. Then, I would feel a slight urge to urinate and I would get out of bed one more time to empty my bladder. I wanted to make sure I could fall asleep and not have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night. This habit led to me routinely getting out of bed every night to void, even though I had emptied my bladder shortly before bed. Basically, this begins to confuse the communication between your brain and bladder to signal when your bladder is truly full or when you might be peeing “just in case.” We never fully empty our bladder 100%, so if you go to the bathroom 20 minutes after the last time you emptied, you will be able to empty some urine. Your brain registers that you are sitting on the toilet and voiding,, but the brain did not necessarily signal for you to go. However, the next time your bladder is maybe 10% full, your brain will think “Well, last time it was this full she went to the bathroom, so she must need to go this time, too. I should go ahead and signal that she has an urge to pee.” When this becomes a habit over time, your brain will think every time the bladder is 10% full, it is time to trigger the urge. This is what can lead to us having a “small” bladder. The bladder itself is not necessarily small, but we have trained it to be small and more sensitive.

The best way to start addressing this habits is acknowledging when you may or may not be just in case peeing. I truly feel like once we start to realize how often we may be “JIC” peeing, we can start to make a change. Ready to learn more about how to take control of your bladder health? Reach out to us or schedule your discovery visit today.

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