Bladder Training – A Simple Yet Effective Remedy for Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a disorder in which a person cannot control the flow of urine and urinates involuntarily. This disorder is more common in women, that too after childbirth or menopause. The problem here is the person having urinary incontinence is reluctant to discuss it with others and even with the doctor. However when there is accidental leakage of urine in public, it is an embarrassing condition and so the person feels smothered. If he or she approaches doctor in time, the doctor first advocates bladder training which is a kind of rescheduling urinary habits and it helps a lot in most of the patients.
Types of Incontinence
Typically urinary incontinence is of three types:
Urge Incontinence: This is also called spastic bladder or overactive bladder. It is involuntary leakage of urine because of a sudden and strong urge to urinate. Actually this is not a disease, but it is a symptom showing that there is some problem. The urge is felt even if the bladder is not full. It is felt because the bladder contracts.
Stress Incontinence: This happens when there is a sudden pressure on your abdomen due to some gesture, like coughing or sneezing or laughing. This is the commonest type of incontinence faced by women, particularly in old age. Women undergone recent delivery too are victimized by this incontinence.
Mixed Incontinence: This is a mix of urge and stress incontinences.
Overflow Incontinence: This occurs when you are unable to empty the bladder, because of which it overflows and at some point there is an accidental leakage. In contrary to the normal condition, this type of incontinence is more common in men and the common cause is enlarged prostate. The prostate because of overgrown size obstructs the urine flow out from bladder.
Is Bladder Training Right for Me?
Whether bladder training will help a person or not depends on the cause of urinary incontinence. Generally it is used to treat urinary incontinence and also bed-wetting children.
Techniques of Bladder Training
When you go for bladder training, your doctor advises you to maintain a diary. In this diary, you have to note down the timing of the urges you felt to go to bathroom. You will also note down when you had a leakage. This diary helps you to use various techniques of bladder training to control urination.
Timetable of Bathroom Visits: Find out how often you have to go to bathroom from the entries in your bathroom diary. Now add 15 minutes to that time. E.g. if you have a habit of going to the bathroom every hour, try to go after 1 hour 15 minutes. Once you set this time, go to bathroom, no matter, whether you feel the urge or not. Go on increasing the time of delay and increase the period of breaks.
Delay in Urination: In this technique, you will have to hold on when you feel the urge to urinate. First hold on for five minutes. Then slowly increase the time to ten minutes. When you can hold on for at least 3-4 hours, you will be successful in controlling your urge. This is of course not easy. You will feel a strong urge. At such times try to distract yourself by counting numbers from 100 to 1 or practice relaxation methods like deep breathing. If at all, you cannot control, use bathroom. However, use it again on your next decided timing to keep on with your bladder training timetable.
Kegel Exercises: These are simple exercises to toughen the muscles used for starting and stopping the urine flow. Researches have found that by the combination of Kegel exercises and other bladder training methods, incontinence in women are effectively controlled. In a Kegel exercise, you have to squeeze the muscles you use to stop the urine flow. Hold it for five seconds and then relax for next five seconds. Slowly increase this time to ten seconds. Do this contraction-relaxation ten times and repeat three times in a day.
Problem in Kegel Exercise
Some women cannot find the right muscles to squeeze in the Kegel exercise. They can put in a finger in the vagina so that they can feel the muscles contracting. Or they can take the help of a doctor by trying biofeedback. In biofeedback, the doctor introduces a small probe in the vagina or keeps electrodes on the outer skin. The probe or the electrodes sends pictures of contraction of pelvic floor muscles to a video monitor. Watching the pictures one can learn to do the contraction correctly.
How to Make Bladder Training Effective
To be helpful in your bladder training, you can do some things additionally.
- Try to avoid beverages that promote urination. These include caffeinated beverages such as sodas, tea or coffee.
- Minimize drinking liquids before going to bed.
- Go to bathroom before bedtime and right after you get up in the morning.
- Don’t forget to maintain the diary. Refer to the diary with the help of your doctor. This will help you to ensure whether you are on right track.
How to Find Out Whether Bladder Training is Helping You?
To find out whether bladder training is really helping you, you can observe some things, like:
- Whether your bathroom breaks have increased
- Whether you can carry more liquid in your bladder
- Whether you can control your urge to urinate more effectively.
You have to be patient for getting these results. They will come, but not immediately. You will have to wait for them for at least 6 to 12 weeks.
If the bladder training is not helping you, even after you are trying it for many weeks, you will have to discuss with your doctor and you may need other ways like medicines or surgical procedures.