|Is your bladder running your life? Or are you in charge? |
We hear women commonly say they feel their bladder is in charge. Yet it doesn’t have to be. Today we want to share some of the common signs that your bladder is taking over when it shouldn’t be.
#1: You know where every restroom in the city is because you have to stop frequently to go to the bathroom. Do you also know which bathrooms are the cleanest? Or closest to the front of the building? If you are saying yes to any of these, it’s a pretty good sign that your bladder is in control and not you.
#2: You can’t make it through dinner or a movie without having to go to the bathroom once or multiple times. Normal urinary habits are that we should be able to go to the bathroom every 2 to 5 hours throughout the day. In total, we should be urinating about 5 to 7 times throughout the day. If you can’t make it through social events, such as dinner with friends or going out to the movie without having to go to the bathroom, that is the sign that you may be dealing with some bladder frequency and your bladder maybe in charge.
#3: You are afraid to drink water while you are out for fear that you are either going to leak or that you are going to have to use the restroom. To manage either one, you just avoid drinking any fluids. Those normal frequencies that we just mentioned above are taking into account that you are drinking a normal amount of fluid. You should not have to limit your fluid amount to control your bladder. Limiting fluids can lead to dehydration which then leads to urine being more concentrated. The more concentrated the urine, the more our bladder wants to get rid of it. We should be taking in a normal amount of fluid a day and you shouldn’t be afraid to drink.
But how do you know how much to drink? The color of your urine is a good indicator if you are drinking the right amount of fluid. Your urine should be a pale yellow most of the day. The first pee of the day should be a little bit darker, but as long as you are urinating pale yellow the rest of the day, you are drinking a good amount of fluid. If your urine is dark or brightly colored, you are likely dehydrated. If your urine is clear, you are actually drinking too much.
#4: You have to stop exercising in ways that you used to enjoy because you will leak or have to go to the bathroom if you do. We hear all the time that women used to do activities like running, Zumba, aerobics, or boot camp classes, but due to bladder issues such as leakage and urinary urgency, they stop exercising. You should not have to stop exercising in ways that you enjoy because you are dealing with bladder leakage or urinary urgency.
#5: You can’t sleep through the night without having to go to the bathroom. Now, if you are anywhere from 70 years and older, waking to urinate 1-2 times per night can be normal. But, if you are getting up 2, 3, 4 times a night and if you are in your 30’s and 40’s, that is not normal. Your bladder should be able to fill and hold urine at least 7-8 hours before getting up to use the bathroom. There is one other situation where getting up at night to pee is normal: Pregnancy.
If you are dealing with 1 or more of these issues, then your bladder is taking control of your life in some way. However, there are things that you can do about it! It’s important that you talk to your healthcare provider about your bladder habits and seek treatment. Pelvic physical therapy is one very effective and conservative option for bladder control. Working with a trained pelvic physical therapist can help you get back to exercise you love, help you sleep through the night, and gain control over your bladder function.