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Health Topics

4 Tips (and Apps) to Help Alleviate Your Urge to Go

By DuPage Medical Group Urology

Do you find yourself constantly running to the bathroom to urinate? Do you find that the urge to urinate may be difficult to control resulting in leakage? If this describes your symptoms, you probably are suffering from an overactive bladder.

While there are many different types of treatment along the overactive bladder treatment pathway, there are some general steps you should take to prepare yourself when talking to your primary care physician or urologist about your overactive bladder symptoms. For many people some modifications may help ease your symptoms so you don’t have to drop everything to run to the restroom.

Try these four methods (and apps to assist) in understanding your overactive bladder.

1. Keep A Record

One of the things that your physician will ask you about are details about your urination. Keep a record of how much fluid you consume, when you urinate, the number of incidents/accidents that occur (leakage), when the incidents occur (i.e. after coughing).

Apps that help track:

 If you prefer to use pencil and paper, download our Bladder Diary.

2. Adjust Your Diet

Did you know that certain foods and beverages can irritate your bladder and make your symptoms worse? Make sure you drink enough fluids to keep your urine from getting too concentrated, as this increases urgency and can also lead to a urinary tract infection. Try to avoid or eliminate the following from your diet to see if it affects your symptoms.

  • Coffee and tea (regular & decaf)
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Tomatoes and tomato products
  • Chocolate

 

3. Work Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Just like all the muscles in your body, the more they are exercised, the stronger they get. This holds true for your pelvic floor as well. The pelvic floor muscles form a sling-like support for your pelvic organs and help provide closure for the bladder and bowel. The better they are able to contract and hold, the more likely you are to stay dry and not leak. To strengthen, start with kegel exercises which help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. While these exercises are generally recommended for those suffering from stress incontinence (peeing while you cough or sneeze), they have been known to help other types of incontinence as well. To perform a kegel, try to contract your pelvic-floor muscles. Think about pulling them in and up, like you are trying to stop urinating. Hold this contraction for 5 seconds, and then relax for 5 second. Repeat this 5 times, 10 -20 times a day.

Apps that help track:

 

4. Regulate and Retrain

Start by scheduling your bathroom breaks; this includes your bowel movements. Constipation can make bladder problems worse and put unnecessary pressure on your bladder leading to urgency. Find a comfortable time period based on what you have learned by your voiding diary. Most people start with a one hour break between bathroom trips during awake hours. Make sure you go whether you feel the urge to go or not. This helps to tell your bladder that you are in charge! Over time, increase your breaks between bathroom trips by 15 minute increments.

Apps that help track:

 

Consistent practice is the key to improvement. Most people notice gradual progress over 6-8 weeks, so don’t give up if you aren’t seeing the results you want after only a few weeks. While you are working on these strategies, you should also try downloading a bathroom finder app, like BathroomMap (iphone | android), to help you be prepared when you are out in public.

While these strategies are just the first step in understanding and treating an overactive bladder, by trying these you will be able to have a full and meaningful conversation with your physician to determine the next steps in your treatment.

 

Topics and Subtopics: Bladder Health

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