5 Tips To Keep Your Bladder Happy and Healthy At Home

Since spending more time at home due to COVID-19, many of our patients have been complaining of needing to wee more often, rushing to the toilet, having accidents on the way, and waking more often overnight to wee.  So many factors may be contributing to this, but some common culprits are drinking too much caffeine (and alcohol!!), high stress/anxiety levels, and having easy access to the toilet.  We share our top tips for keeping your bladder happy and healthy at home.

1. Cut back on caffeine 

When you are spending more time at home, it’s easy to keep popping on the kettle for another cuppa.  Drinking too much caffeine can have a big impact on your bladder control. Caffeine irritates your bladder, and will make you want to wee more often.  Cutting back on the caffeine will help relax your bladder, and can also make a big difference if you are waking overnight to wee.  
So how much caffeine is ok? As a general guide, if you are having 2 litres of fluid intake in a day, less than half should be caffeinated drinks.  Also avoid drinking caffeine in the evening if you want to wake less overnight.  To learn more about healthy fluid intake, check out our blog article.

2. Avoid going to the toilet ‘just in case’

Did you know that going to the toilet ‘just in case’ isn’t healthy for your bladder?  When you do this, it teaches your bladder to feel full with a smaller volume of wee.  Doing this occasionally is ok, but doing it a lot can start to negatively affect your bladder capacity (how much your bladder can hold).  
When you are spending more time at home, and you have easy access to the toilet, it’s tempting to go to the toilet more often. However, holding on until your bladder feels comfortably full will help keep your bladder able to hold a healthy capacity. 

3. Keep up your pelvic floor muscle exercises 

Your pelvic floor muscles play an important role in supporting and controlling your bladder.  When they are too weak or too tense, you might notice a change in your bladder control.  Keeping up with your pelvic floor muscle exercise program is so important to stay on top of bladder problems.  If you need your pelvic floor muscle exercise program reviewed, book in for a consultation with one of our physios.  

4. Reduce stress

Did you know stress has a HUGE impact on your bladder?  Remember the days at school or uni when you were waiting to do an exam, and you felt you needed to wee 20 times before it started?  Stress triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response in your brain, which switches your bladder to ‘empty’ mode.  I think it’s safe to say we have all noticed some increased stress in recent times!  Calming down your mind and body is helpful to counteract this. A really easy way to do this is by practicing mindfulness or relaxation.  To get you started, you can access a guided relaxation or guided mediation, recorded by one of our experienced physiotherapists Jane Richards.  

5. Retrain your bladder 

If your bladder is being a little more stubborn, you might need a course of bladder retraining under the guidance of one of our pelvic floor physiotherapists.  Bladder retaining involves the physiotherapist asking you to complete a bladder diary, which requires you to record and measure all the wees you do and all the drinks you have for 2-3 days.  Then, depending on the results of the diary and your history, they will create an individualised program for you to retrain your bladder, which usually involves learning techniques that calm the urge to wee.